REDS MAINTAIN PERFECT START
A brace from Caitlin McGuinness, a penalty from Marissa Callaghan and a late free kick from Toni Leigh Finnegan ensured Cliftonville Ladies maintained their 100% record so far in the league with a North Belfast derby win over Crusaders at Solitude.
The away side opened the scoring with just two minutes on the clock as Amy McGivern blasted the ball into the roof of the net after Cliftonville goalkeeper Rachel Norney had denied Emily Wilson from close range.
Crusaders’ lead would last just two minutes with Caitlin McGuinness pouncing on a defensive error before taking the ball past Maddy Harvey-Clifford and watching the ball trickle home to level for the Reds.
Whilst Cliftonville dominated possession and created the better openings following the early exchange of goals, it would be Crusaders who would miss a golden opportunity to regain the lead on 21 minutes.
Emily Wilson got the better of her marker before rattling the crossbar with a rasping strike from a tight angle.
They would be left to rue that miss when Abbie Magee was brought down by Mairead McCann inside the box on the stroke of half time and the referee awarded a spot kick.
Callaghan stepped up and emphatically fired the Reds ahead, with McGuinness adding her second and Cliftonville’s third just after the restart.
Leah McEvoy almost pulled a goal back for Crusaders on 62 minutes, but her shot bounced off the underside of the crossbar and away from danger.
Finnegan sealed the win in injury time for the Reds, firing home a free kick from outside the area to make it three wins on the bounce for John McGrady’s side.
Cliftonville Ladies: Norney, White, Burrows, Morgan, Finnegan, Maxwell, McDaniel, C. McGuinness, McKimm, Callaghan, Magee subs Moran (not used), Montgomery (not used), Welsh (not used), Reilly (not used), McHenry (replaced White 69), Campbell (not used), Mailey (not used)
Crusaders Strikers: Harvey-Clifford, Hamilton, McGivern, McCann, McEvoy, Armour, Ingram, Chalmers, Wilson, McLaren, Rea subs Mearns (not used), Johnston (not used), McNeill (not used), Redmond (not used), Otter (replaced McGivern 62), Eddis (not used), Boyle (replaced McCann 54)