REDS MARCH ON AS SKY BLUES STRUGGLE
Cliftonville hit two goals without reply past Ballymena United at Solitude to remain in the mix at the top of the table.
The Reds came close with just over ten minutes on the clock when a Ronan Doherty free-kick was headed towards his own goal by Andy McGrory but Sean O'Neill was on hand to keep the ball out.
O'Neill came to Ballymena's rescue again to deal with a Ben Wilson effort while, at the other end, Mikey Place tested David Odumosu from distance.
But the deadlock was broken after half-an-hour. A Chris Gallagher corner was directed onto the crossbar by Doherty with Odhran Casey on hand to force the rebound over the line from close range.
Cliftonville might have doubled their advantage early in the second half but Ronan Hale's snapshot went wide from a good position.
A Steven McCullough free-kick for the visitors caused Odumosu some problems but, by and large, the Reds looked much more likely to find a way through.
They duly did so with just over a quarter-of-an-hour remaining after Hale got on the end of a Wilson through ball to sweep the finish past O'Neill to make sure of the win.
Cliftonville: Odumosu, Addis, Gallagher, Rory Hale, Mallon, Doherty, Casey, Turner, Ronan Hale, Kearney, Wilson subs Gartside, Pepper, Stewart, Curran, Gormley, Ashford, McGuinness
Ballymena United: O’Neill, Nelson, Whiteside, McCullough, F. Taylor, McGrory, Murray, McMurray, Place, McAuley, Westendorf subs Johnston, Waide, O’Boyle, D. Crawford, D. Taylor, Stewart