Cliftonville Ladies send reigning champions to 3-0 defeat

liftonville beat defending champions Glentoran
Glentoran header during a 3-0 loss at Cliftonville. (Photo: Johnny Caldwell)

Cliftonville moved five points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership with a statement victory at home to reigning champions Glentoran on Wednesday evening.

Cliftonville 3-0 Glentoran
Derry City 0-3 Sion Swifts
Mid Ulster 2-4 Crusaders Strikers
Lisburn 1-4 Linfield

It was the first league defeat for the defending champions this campaign, having been held at Sion Swifts last week, and ensured Cliftonville have won all six of their opening league matches.

The Glens endured a difficult evening as Casey Howe was stretchered off during a scoreless first half, before the hosts took control in the second period.

Toni Leigh Finnegan’s free-kick broke the deadlock three minutes after half-time, then quickfire goals from sisters Kirsty and Caitlin McGuinness settled the tie just after the hour mark.

The visitors had a chance to pull a late goal back when captain Jessica Foy was felled by Reds’ goalkeeper Rachael Norney inside the area, but the shot-stopper made amends with a fine save from Foy’s spot kick.

liftonville beat defending champions Glentoran
Glentoran on the ball during their defeat by Cliftonville, (Photo: Johnny Caldwell)

Sion Swifts moved to within two points of Glentoran, as they recorded a three-goal victory away to Derry City.

Naomi McLaughlin’s first half penalty gave Sion the lead before striker Cora Chambers continued her superb run of form in front of goal by doubling the lead with five minutes remaining, substitute Aoibhe O’Neill adding a third in stoppage time.

Linfield remain behind Sion on goal-difference only as they came from behind for the second week in a row, to record a 4-1 victory on the road by defeating Lisburn.

The hosts took a 15th-minute lead as Rachel Kerr netted from 25 yards with a superb finish, but having also come from a goal down to win at Derry City the previous week – the Blues responded.

Keri Halliday levelled the score just before half-time, with Carla Devine giving the Blues midway through the second period.

It was a dominant second-half display from Phil Lewis’s side and their pressure paid off with Halliday and Devine both finding the net again late on, to put some gloss on the scoreline.

There was a six-goal thriller in Mid Ulster as Crusaders Strikers twice came from behind to record a 4-2 victory.

Sharagh Murphy and Jessica Magee had twice given the home side the lead but Emily Wilson and Morganne Beggs twice levelled, before Megan Ingram and Jessica Rea each netted for the visitors to complete the turnaround.

FA form New England Women’s Blind Team

Would you like to read more women’s football news just like this? Sign up to receive the She Kicks Women’s Football newsletter