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Hat a boy

Cliftonville 4-1 Portadown

Joe Gormley broke yet another Club record as the 14th hat-trick of his Cliftonville career earned a comeback victory over Portadown at Solitude this afternoon.

Trailing to Greg Moorhouse’s early header, the Reds turned the tie on its head when Gormley netted twice in the closing stages of the first-half before sealing his treble – and pulling clear of 1930s star Sid Over’s 13 hat-tricks – with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Ronan Hale then wrapped things up when he raced clear to slot past Jethren Barr in injury-time and complete an ultimately comfortable win on a day that had started in difficulty.

Indeed, it took Cliftonville a full 20 minutes to find any sort of rhythm – by which stage they were already behind; Moorhouse nodding home after Paddy McNally’s header back across the face of goal from Alberto Balde’s corner.

When the Reds eventually got into their groove, Sean Moore forced a fine save from Barr, who also kept Ronan Hale and Luke Turner at bay before the hosts should have been awarded a penalty when Kris Lowe was chopped down inside the box by Barney McKeown; referee Tim Marshall inexplicably issuing a yellow card for diving.

The equaliser came five minutes before half-time when a Cricky Gallagher cross allowed Gormley to sweep in from close range and the same player produced a precise finish when the Hale siblings combined to set him up a few minutes later.

Portadown thought they’d levelled in the second-half only for an offside flag to cut Jordan Jenkins’ celebrations short, but there would be no denying Gormley his historic moment when he was picked out by Jonny Addis and lifted the ball beyond Barr to complete his treble.

A quick throw-in from Levi Ives allowed Hale to add a fourth with virtually the contest’s final kick to ensure a welcome return to winning ways for the Reds.

Cliftonville: Gartside, Gallagher (Addis, 62 mins), Rory Hale (Casey, 90 mins), McDonagh, Lowe, Doherty, Gormley (C Curran, 90 mins), Turner, Ronan Hale, Coates, Moore (Ives, 88 mins). Unused subs: Donnelly, R Curran, Robinson.