CURRAN FINISH ENOUGH FOR REDS
League leaders Cliftonville held onto their slender grip at the top courtesy of a narrow defeat of Ballymena United at Solitude.
The visitors enjoyed numerous chances during the scoreless first half with the opening effort coming as early as the second minute when Ryan Waide flashed a shot into the side netting.
Jude Winchester then offered up a half volley soon after only for the ball to go off target before Conor Keeley glanced a Steven McCullough corner just wide, and that was followed by a good stop from keeper Luke McNicholas to deny Kenny Kane.
McNicholas was called into action again midway through the first half to thwart Leroy Millar's shot from Paul McElroy's cross.
The Reds did come into the game more towards the break with Levi Ives firing past the far post from the edge of the box while Johnny Addis' diving header was kept out by Jordan Williamson.
Cliftonville threatened more in the second half. Ryan Curran fired over after an Ives corner bounced around the box with Daniel Kearns skimming the crossbar not long after that from the edge of the area.
The home side broke the deadlock with what proved to be the only goal of the game on 68 minutes when Ryan Curran touched the ball over the line from Chris Curran's left-sided free-kick despite Williamson getting a hand to it.
And Ryan Curran almost added a second ten minutes after that only to strike the woodwork from around 30 yards out.
Cliftonville: McNicholas, Ives, C. Curran, R. Curran, Lowe, Donnelly, Addis, Gormley, Turner, Gallagher, Kearns subs Dunne (not used), McDermott (replaced Donnelly 46), Harney (replaced Kearns 86), O’Neill (replaced Gormley 72), McDonagh (not used), Casey (not used), Coates (not used)
Ballymena United: Williamson, Chapman, Wilson, Winchester, McElroy, Waide, McCullough, Kane, Barr, Keeley, Millar subs Johnston (not used), Redman (replaced Waide 69), Henderson (not used), Bramall (not used), Graham (not used), Smith (replaced Winchester 83), Beattie (not used)