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Seaview success

Crusaders Strikers 1-3 Cliftonville Ladies

Cliftonville Ladies maintained their Danske Bank Women’s Premiership title challenge with a superb North Belfast Derby defeat of Crusaders strikers this evening.

After taking the lead through Kirsty McGuinness, the Reds were pegged back when Amy McGivern drew the Crues level at Seaview, but strikes from Marissa Callaghan and Toni-Leigh Finnegan secured the win that keeps Cliftonville within a point of Glentoran Women at the summit.

In a bright start from the visitors, Yasmin White sent an early drive wide with Caitlin McGuinness doing likewise before Reds keeper Rachel Norney saved from McGivern.

The deadlock was broken in eye-catching style on 22 minutes when Kirsty McGuinness added yet another stunning strike to her collection. After receiving possession from Callaghan, she cut in from the left and rattled an unstoppable blast into the far corner.

Crusaders should have levelled when Emily Wilson was played through on goal only to shoot wide from a promising position before a miscued clearance from White landed safely in Norney’s arms.

Having headed over from a corner just beforehand, McGivern drew the home side level on the cusp of half-time when she finished off after good work from Wilson.

Cliftonville were back in front on 66 minutes when Callaghan got on the end of Kirsty McGuinness’ cross to guide a volley beyond the despairing dive of goalkeeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford.

Soon later, Rachel McLaren’s foul on Kirsty McGuinness earned a penalty which substitute Finnegan stepped up to confidently stroke into the bottom corner to put the seal on victory.

Cliftonville: Norney, White, Moran, Davis, Weatherall, McHenry (Caldwell, 78 mins), Callaghan, McConnell (Finnegan, 60 mins), McDaniel, K McGuinness, C McGuinness. Unused subs: McKimm, Morgan, Montgomery.