21 Jan 2023
© Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press Jonny Addis and Matthew Shevlin contest a header at The Showgrounds

There was a slight shuffling of the pack in the upper echelons of the Danske Bank Premiership as four of the top six cancelled each other out while Linfield and Glentoran swept to victories.

Cliftonville remain top of the pile but they will rue letting a two-goal lead slip at home to Coleraine.

Ronan Hale fired the Reds in front as early as the tenth minute from 25 yards, aided by a goalkeeping error, before Ronan Doherty added a second just before the hour mark.

But two goals in quick succession from Matthew Shevlin saw the Bannsiders roar back to salvage a point. He converted from the spot on 63 minutes and levelled just moments later from Jamie Glackin’s left wing cross.

New Glentoran boss Rodney McAree got his reign off to a winning start with a 3-1 defeat of Newry City at The Showgrounds.

Niall McGinn got his first goal for the Glens after seven minutes from close range, with Jay Donnelly doubling the visitors’ lead just before the break.

James Teelan pulled one back early in the second half and when the Glens were reduced to ten men following Patrick McClean’s dismissal soon after it looked like the home side might salvage something.

However, Donnelly struck with his second of the afternoon around the hour mark to secure a first win in six league outings for the Glens.

At Windsor Park Eetu Vertainen bagged a hat-trick as Linfield swept to a comfortable win over Ballymena United.

The Finnish striker opened the scoring with just over a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock, doubled his tally later in the first half and claimed the match ball moments after the interval at the back post.

That win saw the Blues leapfrog Larne into second spot, after they thrashed out a scoreless draw with fourth placed Crusaders at Inver Park.

Cian Bolger perhaps came closest to finding a way through just before the break but was denied by a goalline clearance from Declan Caddell.

Michael O’Connor bagged the winner that helped Dungannon Swifts defeat Glenavon 2-1 at Stangmore Park.

The sides traded goals midway through the first half with Mayowa Animasahun striking for the Swifts and Aaron Prendergast levelled soon after.

O’Connor then sent home an angled effort into the bottom corner to earn the Swifts the points, although his joy was tempered somewhat a little later when he was dismissed following a skirmish.