Irish Premiership: Reds go fourth with victory over Newry

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Cliftonville win fourth consecutive league game

Cliftonville are up to fourth in the Premiership thanks to a 3-1 win over basement side Newry City at Solitude.

City took an early lead when Darragh Noonan slotted home but the Reds hit back with three goals in seven minutes.

Rory Donnelly blasted in the equaliser before Joe Gormley's tap-in and Ryan Curran made it three with a rifled finish past keeper Andy Coleman.

Both sides wasted second-half chances as the Reds moved to within six points of pacesetters Glenavon.

Newry boss Darren Mullen bemoaned his side's finishing before the game and City again missed a string of chances as they slipped to a sixth straight league defeat to stay two points adrift at the bottom.

It started off perfectly for the visitors when Noonan stabbed in on four minutes after a deflected Stephen Hughes shot, from a well-worked free-kick, fell into his path.

Darragh Noonan celebrates his early opener for Newry City at Solitude
Darragh Noonan celebrates his early opener for Newry City at Solitude

But frustration in front of goal followed for Newry as Stephen Hughes and Mark McCabe both failed to find the target with just keeper Richard Brush to beat.

In contrast Cliftonville were clinical as Barry Gray's side turned the game around with a three-goal blitz, starting in the 27th minute.

Rory Donnelly played a neat one-two with Chris Curran before rounding keeper Andy Coleman and firing high into the net.

Gormley made it 2-1 with a typical poacher's finish as the striker redirected Donnelly's shot into the net from a yard out.

The third goal came from a corner, awarded controversially after the ball appeared to come off a home player before going behind.

An initial header was blocked and Ryan Curran was there to swivel and smack the ball into the City net.

It was night to celebrate for Reds scorers Joe Gormley and Ryan Curran
It was night to celebrate for Reds scorers Joe Gormley and Ryan Curran

Cliftonville should have extended their advantage early in the second half but Chris Curran poked wide when clear on goal and Coleman made a fine save to deny Rory Donnelly.

Newry found it easy to breach the Reds defence but an inability to find the net proved their downfall as they squandered three more opportunities to get back into the game.

Dale Montgomery was played in by Stephen Hughes but his strike gave Brush the chance to tip over the bar.

Mark Hughes cut inside before fizzing over and finally substitute Tiarnan Rushe moved clear but his low shot was blocked by Brush.