Cliftonville Ladies 8-0 Mid Ulster Ladies
Cliftonville Ladies chalked up their biggest win of the season so far to pull two points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership.
Top-tier newcomers Mid Ulster Swifts were the visitors to Solitude, where the Reds roared into a five-goal lead by the interval before adding three further unanswered strikes after the break.
A whirlwind start saw the hosts carve out a raft of chances in the opening minutes and it wasn’t long before Mid Ulster’s resistance was broken; Marissa Callaghan lobbing goalkeeper Lillie Crooks.
It was 2-0 on eight minutes when Toni-Leigh Finnegan netted with a pinpoint blast from the edge of the area before Caitlin McGuinness converted the rebound from sister Kirsty’s saved free-kick to further extend Cliftonville’s lead.
Skipper Megan Moran added the fourth with a precise touch on 20 minutes and, after Callaghan had seen an attempt cleared off the line and Caitlin McGuinness rattled the crossbar, Danielle Maxwell was denied by a block as the Reds’ relentless pursuit of goals continued.
Crooks kept Fi Morgan’s header out but was powerless to stop Louise McDaniel from turning and executing a low drive for Cliftonville’s fifth just past the half-hour.
Grace McKimm then had a shot blocked and a looping effort from Callaghan came back off the bar, with the first-half ending with McDaniel failing to find the net with an effort using the outside of her boot.
Shortly after the re-start, Mid Ulster came close to reducing the arrears through none other than goalkeeper Crooks. Evidently a set-piece specialist, he stepped forward to take a free-kick some 35 yards out only to become the third player of the night to thump the crossbar.
Crooks then made a smart stop to thwart McDaniel and Maxwell curled wide but home pressure eventually told again when the impressive Abbie McMagee bagged her first goal for the Club when she converted Kirsty McGuinness’ cross.
Callaghan and Caitlin McGuinness were next to threaten but it was McDaniel who added to the Reds’ tally by claiming her second of the night with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Substitute Kelsie Burrows wrapped things up when she became the second player of the night to open her Cliftonville account; the team’s eighth and final goal coming when she was quickest to react after Crooks had repelled an attempt from Callaghan.
Cliftonville: Norney (Murphy, 64 mins), Moran, Morgan (White, 46 mins), Finnegan, Maxwell (McHenry, 64 mins), McDaniel, C McGuinness, K McGuinness (Reilly, 75 mins), McKimm (Burrows, 46 mins), Callaghan, Magee. Unused subs: Montgomery, Mailey.