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Derby defeat

Crusaders 2-1 Cliftonville

Cliftonville slipped to a harsh defeat in the final North Belfast Derby of the season at Seaview this evening.

Trailing 1-0 at the end of a first-half they had largely bossed, the Reds levelled through Joe Gormley early in the second period and looked to have laid a platform to go on and win the game but a series of near misses came back to haunt them as Crusaders went on to nick a winner.

Gormley, Stephen Mallon and Ben Wilson all threatened early on and, after Rory Hale had drawn a fine save from Jonny Tuffey, Cliftonville inevitably fell behind when Jordan Forsythe netted with his side’s first shot following a scrappy sequence inside the penalty area.

Hale sent another attempt wide and Wilson was also off target before the former Brighton striker headed straight at Tuffey from Ronan Doherty’s 40th minute cross.

Though the Reds didn’t get the leveller their play merited before the interval, it duly arrived seven minutes after the restart when Gormley seized on a defensive mistake and raced through to stroke a cool finish in off the post.

A similar opportunity soon later resulted in Gormley being dispossessed by a last-gasp challenge and, after another opening saw Gormley unable to make the most of Hale’s delivery, the Crues went straight up the pitch and scored through Stewart Nixon.

Cliftonville were thereafter unable to fashion any real chances to emerge with what would have been a deserved point, and will look back on a series of near misses after falling to their first Derby defeat of the campaign.