Thomas Maguire (45)

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Thomas Maguire scored Cliftonville's winner on the stroke of half-time (©INPHO/Jonathan Porter)

MAGUIRE WINNER KEEPS REDS TOP OF THE PILE

League leaders Cliftonville carved out a narrow 1-0 win to make it four consecutive victories over the festive period.

Substitute Thomas Maguire proved to be the unlikely matchwinner when, on the stroke of half-time, he rounded off a slick move involved Ronan Doherty and Conor McMenamin before coolly slotting the ball past Johnny Tuffey.

Joe Gormley had the ball in the net with less than a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock but the goal was ruled out after referee Evan Boyce spotted a foul in the build up.

Clear cut chances were at a premium although Conor McMenamin almost found a way through late in the first half after combining with Gormley only to be denied by a fine stop from Tuffey, although that proved to be little more than a temporary reprieve for the visitors when Maguire popped up moments later with the only goal of the afternoon.

The Reds survived a few nervy moments as the game wore on and Glenavon searched for an equaliser. Keeper Richard Brush made a few clearances with a goalmouth scramble causing some anxiety while Seamus Sharkey and Josh Daniels were both narrowly off target with close range headers.

Jordan Jenkins also found himself through on goal but his low effort from the right was cleared.

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Breen, Harney, C. Curran, R. Curran, Bagnall, Doherty, Gormley, McMenamin, A. Donnelly subs Dunne, Ives, Foster, Wilson, Maguire, Rocks, McCurry

Glenavon: Tuffey, Larmour, Burns, Marron, Daniels, Marshall, McCloskey, Murray, Singleton, Garrett, Sharkey subs Doyle, Mitchell, Harmon, Beggs, Jenkins, Neill, Wearen

Referee: Evan Boyce

Attendance: 1366

Tags:  Cliftonville  Glenavon