Irish Premiership: Ards 0-4 Cliftonville

Cliftonville's Martin Donnelly celebrates after scoring against Ards

Cliftonville moved to within a point of Premiership leaders Crusaders and Linfield as they put four past bottom club Ards at Clandeboye Park.

The game was effectively over as early as the 14th minute as goals from Joe Gormley and Martin Donnelly put Tommy Breslin's side 2-0 ahead.

Liam Boyce hit the third goal on 58 as he poked home after Graeme McKibbin had failed to hold a Gormley free-kick.

Gormley notched his 24th goal of the season on 79 minutes.

The in-form Gormley put the Reds ahead on 10 minutes after McKibbin could only parry a Martin Murray effort.

Ronan Scannell's through ball then put Donnelly in a dangerous position and the former Crusaders winger supplied a classy curled finish past the Ards keeper.

Murray had a chance to extend Cliftonville's lead when he only had McKibbin to beat but the former Glentoran player shot wide.

Ards felt they should have had a penalty on 21 minutes after a long ball appeared to strike a Cliftonville hand in the area with Conor Devlin saving the subsequent Paul McDowell shot.

As Ards improved before the break, Stephen Gorman went close while Reds keeper Devlin saved an Andy Hunter free-kick.

However, any slim prospect of an Ards comeback was ended by Cliftonville's third goal on 58 with Boyce netting from close range after Gormley's dipping free-kick had been spilled by McKibbin.

Tomas Cosgrove's cross set up Gormley's second goal of the night 11 minutes from time.

The win moves Cliftonville to within a point of Crusaders and Linfield although the leading duo have the chance to restore the margin to four points in Saturday's respective games against Glentoran and Ballinamallard.

Ards remain on the bottom - a point behind Warrenpoint Town.

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