26 Sep 2023
© Matt Mackey/INPHO

What a night of Sports Direct Premiership action it turned out to be as Cliftonville, Linfield and Loughgall all collected three points apiece at home.

The Villagers will grab all the headlines after they defeated champions – and the previously unbeaten – Larne at Lakeview Park.

Dean Smith’s side claimed the points thanks to Benji Magee’s 89th minute clipped effort over replacement keeper Aidan Dowling (in for Rohan Ferguson who had been sent-off with around 20 minutes remaining) after earlier striking the woodwork through a Mark Patton free-kick from outside the area.

At Solitude Cliftonville found their shooting boots with a five-goal defeat of Coleraine, with Joe Gormley stealing the show with a superb hat-trick.

He opened the scoring on 37 minutes after getting his head to the ball from close range after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Gormley doubled the home advantage eight minutes after the break after pouncing on an attempted clearance to blast home his second of the evening.

Cliftonville's third arrived just before the hour courtesy of a clinical Wilson finish after he connected with Sean Stewart's run and cross from the left.

Then, five minutes after that, Gormley bagged his hat-trick goal when he pounced on the rebound from Chris Gallagher's effort against the crossbar to stab home a fourth for the Reds.

And a fifth arrived with ten minutes to go as the rampant Reds tore the Coleraine defence apart before Wilson slotted past Gallagher to double his tally for the evening.

Meanwhile, at Windsor Park, two first half goals saw leaders Linfield extend their hold at the top of the table with victory over Crusaders.

The Blues needed just ten minutes to seize the advantage after Joel Cooper created space for himself just outside the box before sending a left-footed effort past keeper Jonny Tuffey, albeit via a deflection.

And David Healy's side doubled their advantage midway through the first half with Cooper turning provider to send a cross into the box for Matthew Fitzpatrick to nod home.