30 Sep 2023
© Stephen Hamilton/INPHO

A full Saturday in the Sports Direct Premiership produced victories for Linfield, Larne, Crusaders, Carrick Rangers and Ballymena United whilst it finished all square at Solitude.

Linfield continue to lead the way at the top of the table following a thumping 6-1 defeat of Newry City at Windsor Park.

Daniel Finlayson opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark after connecting with a corner to head past Tom Maguire.

Kyle McClean added a second five minutes later with a first time effort from outside the area into the bottom corner.

Then, sixty seconds after that, Finlayson doubled his tally for the afternoon after curling an exquisite left-foot strike into the top corner from inside the area.

And Kirk Millar added a fourth on 43 minutes with a well struck ball from the left which bypassed everyone in the box before going in at the far post.

Newry pulled one back just after the hour through Adam Salley after a great back post finish when Darragh Owens initial effort was deflected into his path.

But Millar restored Linfield's four-goal cushion not long after that with his second of the game with a right-footed strike from outside the area.

The scoring was completed in stoppage time after Darragh McBrien, who had earlier hit the woodwork, found the bottom corner with a volley from inside the box.

Larne spoiled new Glenavon manager Stephen McDonnell’s party thanks to a blistering second half performance at Mourneview Park.

Scoreless at the break, Lee Bonis bagged a nine-minute hat-trick just after the interval.

Bonis opened the scoring barely a minute after the interval after controlling a Dylan Sloan ball forward to confidently direct it past Rory Brown.

Then, almost immediately afterwards, he doubled his tally with a volley into the roof of the net from Kieran Lloyd's right-sided cross.

Remarkably, Bonis then claimed his hat-trick on 55 minutes with a back post header from a corner to complete a torrid few minutes for the home side.

Sloan then got in on the act midway through the second half with a composed finish into the bottom left corner after Paul O'Neill had pulled the ball back into his path.

Crusaders hit three goals late in the game on their way to a dominant 4-0 victory over Coleraine at The Showgrounds.

The Crues moved in front with around a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock. Adam Lecky did well down the left to create the opening for Philip Lowry to send a low right-foot drive from just outside the area past keeper Martin Gallagher.

Despite threatening on numerous occasions throughout the game it took the Crues until the 81st minute to extend their advantage when Ben Kennedy cut through the home defence to beat Gallagher from ten yards.

Then, six minutes after that, Daniel Larmour added a third with a close range header after Kennedy and Lecky had combined to create the opening.

Jarlath O'Rourke then completed the scoring right at the end with a left foot finish from just inside the area.

Cliftonville and Loughgall shared the spoils after an end-to-end encounter at Solitude.

The Reds moved in front as early as the second minute through Jonny Addis who rose highest to head home Ronan Doherty's quickly taken free-kick from close range.

Loughgall levelled, however, just after the half-hour mark courtesy of Jay Boyd who was found lurking at the back post to touch home Jamie Rea's cross from the left.

Carrick Rangers stunned Glentoran with two goals midway through the second half after falling behind at the Loughview Leisure Arena.

It took the Glens just four minutes to break the deadlock when, following a scramble in the box started by a Bobby Burns inswinging corner, Marcus Kane pounced on the loose ball to fire home.

Stuart King's side equalised on 69 minutes after Danny Purkis went on a run down the right before sending the ball over for Nedas Maciulaitis to turn home at the back post.

And, two minutes after that, what proved to be the winner arrived when Purkis bagged his third goal in as many games after connecting with Curtis Allen's cross.

Meanwhile, at Stangmore Park, Noah Stewart bagged the only goal of the game as Ballymena United defeated Dungannon Swifts.

Stewart, on his debut, pounced on 87 minutes to turn home the winner from close range after Fraser Taylor had knocked on Alex Gawne's cross from the right.