25 Nov 2023
© Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press Rory Hale celebrates finding the net for Cliftonville

Linfield, Larne and Cliftonville all picked up three points apiece to maintain their places in the upper echelons of the Sports Direct Premiership.

There were also no less as important victories for Dungannon Swifts and Glenavon, while it ended all square at the Coleraine Showgrounds.

The Blues returned to the top of the table after being temporarily knocked off the summit overnight with a comfortable four goal defeat of Ballymena United at Windsor Park.

Matthew Fitzpatrick opened and closed the scoring for David Healy’s side while Kirk Millar and Kyle McClean also got on the scoresheet midway through each half.

Larne had moved into pole position on Friday night following their 2-1 win over Glentoran at Inver Park.

Andy Ryan edged the champions in front as early as the tenth minute, with Leroy Millar extending the home advantage early in the second half. David Fisher did pull one back for the Glens, but Larne held on to secure the points.

Also on Friday night, Glenavon continued their revival under new boss Stephen McDonnell with a 3-0 victory over Newry City at The Showgrounds.

Jack Malone and Aaron Prendergast found the net within six minutes of each other in the latter stages of the first half, with Stephen Teggart adding a third in stoppage time.

Cliftonville emerged victorious from the north Belfast derby with Crusaders at Solitude on Saturday afternoon.

Joe Gormley broke the deadlock on 35 minutes before Rory Hale extended the Reds’ lead on 68, with Ben Wilson adding a third three minutes from the end.

And it was also a good weekend for Dungannon Swifts as a Matthew Lusty double helped them defeat Loughgall at Lakeview Park.

Lusty handed Rodney McAree’s side a 13th minute advantage, and found the net again with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining – and although Benji Magee pulled one back for the Villagers in added time it wasn’t enough to change the destination of the points.

Meanwhile, at the Showgrounds, David McDaid struck a 79th minute leveller for Coleraine to cancel out Reece Glendinning’s early effort for Carrick Rangers.