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Back in the goal routine

Cliftonville 3-0 Glenavon

Joe Gormley bagged a deadly double as Cliftonville began their Sports Direct Premiership season with a convincing victory over Glenavon at Solitude.

Just six minutes were on the clock when the striker broke the deadlock with an inch-perfect lob and, after Sean Stewart marked his debut with a finish from close range, Gormley wrapped the day’s scoring up with another fine finish just before the interval.

Kicking their League campaign off a week after most of their rivals, any questions about how long it might take the Reds to settle into proceedings were quickly settled when Ronan Doherty’s inviting ball forward saw Gormley steal in behind and lift an effort over stranded goalkeeper Rory Brown.

The Glenavon stopper then made a smart save to deny Ben Wilson a debut strike but was powerless to prevent fellow new boy Stewart from capitalising on the rebound, with Wilson again kept at bay when he found himself one-on-one with Brown.

Just as a Doherty pass to Gormley had provided the game’s opener, so did the story of the contest’s final goal follow a similar pattern, with the striker shrugging off the attentions of Danny Wallace to clip the ball into the far corner.

Opportunities were much harder to come by after the break, however Nathan Gartside did make a couple of fine saves to preserve his clean sheet, while Wilson’s luck was out again when Brown did well to get a touch on the ball just as the Cliftonville frontman was attempting to work his way around him.

Cliftonville: Gartside, Stewart (McGuinness, 80 mins), Addis, Gallagher (C Curran, 67 mins), Lowe, Robinson, Doherty (Pepper, 90 mins), Gormley (Berry, 80 mins), Casey, Turner, Wilson. Unused subs: Odumosu, McDonagh, Storey.