Irish Premiership: Cliftonville 4-0 Lisburn Distillery

Cliftonville striker Joe Gormley celebrated his 23rd birthday with the goal which put his side on their way to victory over Lisburn Distillery.

Liam Boyce, Barry Johnston and James Knowles added second-half goals to seal the win and put the Reds seven points clear at the top of the Premiership.

Gormley skipped past defender Philip Simpson to fire in after 16 minutes.

Boyce headed the second, substitute Johnston drilled in number three and Knowles netted a late, low drive.

Those three goals in the closing 18 minutes put a gloss on the scoreline for Tommy Breslin's men but it was a disappointing end to the evening for struggling Lisburn Distillery who had given Cliftonville plenty of anxious moments earlier in the game.

Indeed, Distillery made the brighter start with the lively Jordan Hughes forcing a couple of fine saves from Northern Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Conor Devlin.

Stephen Garrett then blasted a shot over for Cliftonville but the Premiership pacesetters made the breakthrough when Gormley got in on the right side of the area to slip a cool finish past Whites keeper Lee Windrum for his 13th goal of the season.

Distillery then survived a Cliftonville penalty when the ball struck Hughes on the arm and Gary Liggett picked up a deserved booking for a late tackle on McMullan.

Lisburn Distillery will feel they should have had a penalty before half-time when Jordan Forsythe went down after Ronan Scannell's challenge from behind.

Visiting defender Simpson almost gifted Gormley a second goal when he was caught in possession but Windrum saved at the near post.

However, the second goal came in the 72nd minute when Martin Donnelly picked up Scannell's throw and whipped in the cross from deep on the left for Boyce to make it 17 goals for the season with an excellent header.

Johnston scored the third just seconds after coming on, letting fly from the edge of the penalty area after Boyce had unselfishly played the ball invitingly into his path.

Boyce was instrumental again when his final flick set up Knowles to drive a low shot past Windrum in the 89th minute.

The margin of the defeat means Distillery fall to the bottom of the Premiership on goal difference. They are level with Donegal Celtic on eight points from 17 fixtures.