FIVE STAR BLUES KEEP PRESSURE ON
Casey Howe netted either side of the break for the Blues at New Midgely Park before Rebecca Bassett, Kirsty McGuinness (penalty) and substitute Rebecca McKenna completed the comprehensive victory.
Linfield took almost 30 minutes to break down a stubborn Cliftonville - captain McGuinness sent in a glorious cross from the left that was met by Howe at the back post, who bundled the ball over the line despite protests from the visitors.
On 59 mins Howe was on hand again to fire home from six yards following up on a rebound while shortly after Billie Simpson brought the best out of home goalkeeper Lauren Perry with a testing 30 yard drive.
Goal number three arrived in the 67th minute with Bassett flicking a cross home over Reds goalkeeper Marissa Callaghan’s head at the front post.
McGuinness stepped up to slot home a 70th minute penalty, having been hauled down in the box, while McKenna finished off the scoring by blasting home after McGuinness’s shot was parried by Callaghan into her path.
The Blues remain four points behind Sion, having played two games fewer.
Linfield: Perry, Hutton, Howe, Bassett, K. McGuinness, Burrows, Timoney, Magee, Donnan, C. McGuinness, McCarron subs McFrederick (replaced Howe 67), McCleary (not used), O'Donnell (replaced Timoney 71), McKenna (replaced Donnan 71)
Cliftonville Ladies: C. Callaghan, Mailey, Moran, Finnegan, Simpson, McEvoy, McConnell, Devine, M. Callaghan, Connolly, Weatherall subs Wilton (replaced Mailey 27), Canavan (replaced McConnell 72), Copeland (replaced Weatherall 70), Matthews (not used), McVarnock (not used)