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Premiership

A WEEKEND WHEN EVERY GOAL COUNTED

28 Feb 2021
football
© Brian Little/INPHO Linfield's Shayne Lavery beats Larne keeper Conor Devlin from the spot
It was a weekend of close, evenly matched contests in the Danske Bank Premiership as the six winning sides all got the better of their opponents by the narrowest of margins.
 
Leaders Linfield kicked the weekend off with a Friday night defeat of Larne, then in second, at Windsor Park. A Shayne Lavery double gave the Blues the edge but a late Jeff Hughes finish for the visitors set up a nervy finish.
 
Larne were replaced in second spot by Coleraine following their victory over Warrenpoint Town at The Showgrounds.
 
Two early goals from Curtis Allen - his second brace in as many games - put Oran Kearney's side into a commanding lead but Fra McCaffrey pulled one back after half-an-hour for 'Point. That, ultimately, was how it stayed as the Bannsiders stretched their current unbeaten run to 12 games.
 
Cliftonville, also enjoyed an excellent run of form, moved into fourth place and, again, it took just one goal for Paddy McLaughlin's charges to get past Carrick Rangers at the Loughshore Hotel Arena thanks to Ryan Curran's 32nd minute drive into the bottom left corner.
 
A much later winner, this time on 89 minutes, saw Glenavon squeeze to the points away to Crusaders. Conor McCloskey bagged the points for the visitors with a superb 20-yard curling effort past Jonny Tuffey for his fourth goal in five outings.
 
And a Ruaidhrí Donnelly goal late in the first half was all Glentoran needed to beat Dungannon Swifts in the Saturday evening streamed game at Stangmore Park. He slotted the finish beyond Roy Carroll after Rhys Marshall had cut the ball back from the byline.
 
Meanwhile, at Shamrock Park, Ballymena United fought back from going behind to end their losing streak with victory over Portadown.
 
Sam Warde had given the Ports a 28th minute advantage, but Shay McCartan in the first half and former Port Ross Redman with seven minutes remaining tipped the balance in favour of the Sky Blues.