Glentoran came from a goal behind to defeat Cliftonville and breathe new life into the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership title race.
Glentoran 3-1 Cliftonville
Sion Swifts 8-0 Derry City
Crusaders Strikers 4-1 Mid Ulster
Going into the encounter, the Reds had won all 12 of their league matches this season and a win in East Belfast would have stretched their lead at the top of the standings to 13 points.
After a tense, scoreless first half, the encounter caught fire on the hour mark when the Glens thought they had taken the lead as Joely Andrews turned home Caragh Hamilton’s free-kick, but the goal was disallowed for an infringement on visiting goalkeeper Nicole Adams.
Cliftonville took the lead within a minute of that incident, as Toni-Leigh Finnegan turned home after the Glens had failed to properly clear a corner.
It took the hosts just minutes to restore parity as Nadene Caldwell produced an excellent finish from the edge of the area to level the score to conclude a thrilling four minutes.
The Glens were in the ascendancy and their superiority paid off when Emma McMaster gave them the lead for the first time with 15 minutes left on the clock. As Cliftonville pushed for a late leveller, Hamilton pounced on a loose back-pass to produce a cool finish and secure the points.
Glentoran now trail Cliftonville by seven points, but the defending champions have a game in hand over their title rivals – whom they will face twice more this campaign in the closing weeks.
Sion Swifts leapfrogged Linfield – who do not play until Wednesday night against Lisburn – into a top four slot with an eight-goal victory over Derry City.
Kerry Brown’s free-kick had separated the sides at the break, but a seven-goal blitz from Sion in the second half blew Derry away and transformed the host’s goal difference into the process.
Cora Chambers bagged a hat-trick as Aimee Neal, Caoirse Doherty, Naomi Donnan and Kelly Crompton all got on the scoresheet.
Crusaders Strikers consolidated their position in the top three with a 4-1 victory over Mid Ulster, but the hosts had to wait until the closing stages of the game to turn the screw.
Emily Wilson’s opener just after half-time was cancelled out by Sharagh Murphy’s fine lob over Crues goalkeeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford to level the score.
Wilson restored the Crues lead with 12 minutes remaining on the clock before late goals from Leontia McVarnock and Amy McGivern put shine on the scoreline.