NOTHING BETWEEN REDS AND BLUES AT SOLITUDE
Title contenders Cliftonville and Linfield battled to a tense scoreless draw at Solitude.
The Reds crafted the first notable effort of the game inside the opening ten minutes when Chris Gallagher had a go from just outside the area but could only look on as his shot fell the wrong side of the post.
Linfield might have moved in front just after the quarter-of-an-hour mark following Christy Manzinga's run to get on the end of a Chris McKee pass but he couldn't find a way of directing the ball past Luke McNicholas.
The Blues came close again on 30 minutes after Kyle McClean slipped the ball on for Kirk Millar who, in turn, left it off for McKee but he could only fire over from a good position.
Cliftonville had a chance a few minutes after that through Joe Gormley but his driven effort was beaten away by Chris Johns while Ryan Curran's follow-up was blocked.
And Curran had another opportunity on the stroke of half-time but his headed effort from Gormley's cross was glanced wide.
Cliftonville's best chance so far came early in the second half after the ball fell for Gormley from a failed clearance but he could only fire over despite being well placed.
Gormley threatened again not long after that but his shot was denied by a superb reaction stop from Johns.
At the other end substitute Jordan Stewart played Manzinga through but the French forward could only fire over while, a little after that, Linfield skipper Jamie Mulgrew fired towards goal but, again, the ball failed to hit the target.
Then, on 81 minutes, Manzinga proved to be a danger again after rushing into the area and getting past Colin Coates only to fire across the face of goal.
Cliftonville had a great chance with a minute of normal time remaining. Chris Curran released Gormley down the right to then flash the ball into the box to which Ryan Curran just failed to make a connection.
Cliftonville: McNicholas, McDermott, Ives, R. Curran, O'Neill, Addis, Gormley, Turner, Gallagher, Coates, Kearns subs McKenna (not used), Harney (not used), C. Curran (replaced O'Neill 83), Hale (not used), Lowe (replaced McDermott 89), Donnelly (not used), Doherty (replaced Kearns 78)
Linfield: Johns, Shields, Callacher, Millar, Manzinga, Hall, M. Clarke, McKee, McClean, Fallon, Pepper subs Walsh (not used), Roscoe (not used), Stewart (replaced McKee 66), Devine (replaced Millar 80), Mulgrew (replaced Fallon 10), Quinn (not used), Hastie (not used)