Irish Premiership: Cliftonville 3-0 Linfield

Cliftonville 3-0 Linfield

Linfield have been knocked off the top of the Premiership after Joe Gormley's double helped the Reds to a 3-0 win.

Gormley rifled into the bottom corner to give Cliftonville a first-half lead and Barry Johnston hit the roof of the net to make it 2-0 on 54 minutes.

Linfield's Michael Gault was sent-off for a poor tackle but Johnston reacted by shoving the midfielder and he also received a straight red card.

Gormley slotted in from Liam Boyce's cross to seal an impressive victory.

Cliftonville moved to within four points of Linfield and Crusaders, who head the standings on goal difference.

It was a deserved win and Tommy Breslin's team put in a performance reminiscent of last season's championship winning campaign.

Gormley and Boyce shot wide in the opening minutes while Blues keeper Jonathan Tuffey kept out a powerful Martin Murray strike.

BJ Burns blasted over from a rare Linfield opening before Gormley outmuscled Kyle McVey and fired home after 32 minutes.

Cliftonville continued to threaten and Tuffey made a fine double-save to deny Boyce and Murray just before the break.

Linfield improved on the restart and Reds keeper Conor Devlin tipped wide a Mark McAllister effort while Andrew Waterworth wasted a good chance.

The hosts regained control when Marc Smyth headed across goal from a corner and Johnston blasted into the net.

Johnston saw red on 68 minutes when he reacted angrily to Gault's challenge on Ryan Catney, resulting in both teams being reduced to 10 men.

Gormley secured the three points with a close-range finish from Boyce's pinpoint cross with 10 minutes left.

Devlin produced a point-blank save from Matthew Tipton's shot as the game moved into injury-time.

"It was the most complete performance of the season and it proved to me that the hunger is still there in this team," said Reds boss Breslin.

"We needed it, its good for the league and hopefully we repeat this kind of display for the rest of the season."

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