13 Apr 2024
© Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press Aaron Donnelly celebrates doubling Larne's lead

Larne and Linfield kept up their respective title challenges with hugely contrasting victories over Cliftonville and Crusaders, while Coleraine, Carrick Rangers, Dungannon Swifts and Loughgall also picked up three points apiece.

Defending champions Larne remain in pole position following an emphatic 8-1 defeat of Cliftonville late on Saturday afternoon.

Lee Bonis opened the scoring after ten minutes with a low strike past David Odumosu, before Aaron Donnelly doubled not long after that.

Cliftonville were reduced to ten men after half-an-hour, and they were further punished late in the first half when Andy Ryan found the net twice in quick succession.

Ryan then bagged his hat-trick on 54 minutes but Ben Wilson pulled one back for the Reds on the hour from the spot.

However Larne’s dominance continued with Leroy Millar and Joe Thomson adding to Cliftonville’s woes before Chris Gallagher wrapped it all up in stoppage time.

Linfield had gone into top spot overnight after a 2-1 victory over Crusaders on Friday evening.

Joel Cooper edged David Healy’s side in front just after the half-hour mark after receiving the ball from Ethan McGee and shaking off the attention of the home defence.

The Crues levelled ten minutes into the second half courtesy of Owens' bullet header into the top right corner after receiving the ball from Jordan Forsythe.

But what proved to be the winner came three minutes into added time when a Kyle McClean corner was nodded towards goal by Daniel Finlayson and over the line via a deflection off Jonny Tuffey.

Matthew Shevlin found the net twice as Coleraine got past Glentoran 2-1 at The Showgrounds.

He opened the scoring on 55 minutes with a finish into the top right corner, and doubled up later in the second half with a low shot under Aaron McCarey.

Patrick McClean pulled one back for the Glens a few minutes after that but the Bannsiders had done enough to claim the points.

In Section B Loughgall defeated Glenavon 3-1 at Lakeview Park.

Ryan Waide fired the Villagers in front on 15 minutes with Andrew Hoey’s deflected finish doubling the home advantage late in the first half.

Caolan Loughran headed into his own net on 82 minutes to throw Glenavon a lifeline late in the game but Benji Magee popped up right at the end of normal time to ensure victory for Loughgall.

Carrick Rangers got the better of Ballymena United by the odd goal in three at the Loughview Leisure Arena.

Ben Tilney broke the deadlock around the hour mark with a strong strike into the bottom corner, before Danny Gibson added a second on 77 minutes. Noah Stewart bagged a late consolation for United.

Meanwhile, at The Showgrounds, Newry City fell to a two-goal defeat to Dungannon Swifts.

Joe Moore edged the Swifts in front on 21 minutes after being given the space to beat Conor Mitchell, but the visitors had to wait until Ryan Campbell converted from the spot in the closing moments to be certain of the points.