Kirsty McGuinness (03p)
Louise McDaniel (29)
Kirsty McGuinness (32)
Casey Howe (44)
Caitlin McGuinness (45 3)

5

(©AMMG Sports/Damien Toolan)

BLUES MAINTAIN PERFECT START TO TITLE DEFENCE

Linfield cruised to a comfortable 5-0 win over Belfast rivals Cliftonville Ladies at New Midgley Park to retain top spot in the Danske Bank Women's Premiership.

The Blues went ahead in the third minute when Kirsty McGuinness scored her first of the season from the penalty spot having been brought down by Chloe Orr in the box after Casey Howe's shot had rattled the cross bar and rebounded to her.

Cliftonville went close in the 23rd minute. Captain Marissa Callaghan found herself with acres of space and time on the Linfield penalty spot but managed to screw her shot past the post.

Louise McDaniel stretched the lead after 29 mins getting on the end of a Kirsty McGuinness cross at the back post. Two minutes later Kirsty McGuinness got her second of the night, finishing off a great passing move and cross from sister Caitlyn.

Two quick goals on the stroke of half time killed the game. Howe picked up a pass from Caitlyn McGuinness, beat her marker and drove home from the edge of the box.

Caitlyn McGuinness was next to open her senior account. A short corner saw Megan Bell whip the ball across goal and McGuinness rose highest to glance the ball into the corner.

The second half saw Cliftonville drop deeper and make it difficult for Linfield to break them down. Kirsty McGuinness did have the ball in the net only to be ruled out for offside. Callaghan struck a tame free kick at Perry in a rare Cliftonville foray.

Linfield: Perry, Bell, K. McGuinness, Burrows, McKenna, Magee, McDaniel, Howe, Donnan, C. McGuinness, McCarron subs Adams (not used), McFrederick (replaced Donnan 76), Hutton (not used), Bassett (replaced Howe 58), Timoney (replaced McKenna 66)

Cliftonville Ladies: C. Callaghan, Moran, Canavan, Simpson, Orr, Da Silva, McConnell, M. Callaghan, Connolly, Weatherall, McVarnock subs Robinson (replaced Simpson 78), McEvoy (replaced Da Silva 52), McMaster (not used), Dempster (not used), Devine (replaced McVarnock 73)

Referee: David Kelly