Irish Premiership: Blues move two clear with win over Warrenpoint

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Warrenpoint v Linfield

Linfield are two points clear at Premiership summit after beating Warrenpoint while challengers Coleraine and Crusaders were held to draws.

Andy Waterworth and Shayne Lavery netted as the champions won 2-0 in the top versus bottom game at Milltown.

Coleraine stay second after a 2-2 draw at Larne while third-placed Crusaders had to settle for a 1-1 draw with 10-man Glentoran.

Ballymena edged Dungannon 3-2 and Glenavon thumped Institute 4-1.

The match between Cliftonville and Carrick Rangers, which was to be played at Solitude, was postponed as a mark of respect following the sudden death on Tuesday of Carrick player Jerry Thompson.

It was a second league win in four days for the Lurgan Blues and they impressed against relegation-threatened Institute at the Brandywell.

Larne players pay tribute to former player Jerry Thompson, who died earlier this week, after taking the lead
Larne players pay tribute to former player Jerry Thompson, who died earlier this week, after taking the lead

Andy Hall slotted in the opener and a Jack Bradley own goal was followed by Andrew Doyle's header as the visitors went in 3-0 in front at the break.

Josh Daniels curled into the top corner for the goal of the game before Jamie Dunne tapped in a late consolation.

Ballymena secured a second league win in a row and a first at home since September to beat Dungannon and move up to seventh place in the table.

Former Swifts player Ryan Harpur headed in from Andy McGrory's delivery to give United an early lead but Oisin Smyth drilled in from the edge of the area midway through the first half to level.

Two in a minute

Another clinical right-foot finish by Smyth just after the hour mark nudged the visitors in front but a minute later James Knowles rifled home from six yards out.

McGrory scored the decisive penalty after Morgan had impetuously challenged Harpur inside the area to condemn Dungannon to a ninth top-flight defeat in 10 games.

McGonigle's excellent 49th-minute opener for the Crues came when the Glens defence failed to clear a corner, and the striker drilled a fine first-time strike from the edge of the box past the unsighted Marijan Antolovic.

Robbie McDaid equalised for the hosts 10 minutes from time with a well-executed half volley that beat Ger Doherty and found the bottom corner.

Robbie McDaid takes to air to fire past Ger Doherty and bring Glentoran level
Robbie McDaid takes to air to fire past Ger Doherty and bring Glentoran level

The Glens were reduced to 10 men when Cameron Stewart was shown a straight red card for a clash with Howard Beverland, while Crues sub Paul Heatley almost grabbed a winner in the final seconds but his shot was well saved by Marijan Antolovic.

Both sides came close to scoring just before McGonigle's goal, with the Glens threatening first through Robbie McDaid, who had a shot cleared off the line by half-time substitute Chris Hegarty.

The Crues went on the attack immediately and Declan Caddell, whose forward runs were a threat throughout, produced a fantastic save from Antolovic with a well-guided header.

Coleraine lost ground in the title race when they were held to a draw by sixth-placed Larne at Inver Park.

Larne took a seventh-minute lead after David McDaid followed up to slot home the rebound after Johnny McMurray's low shot had been parried by Chris Johns.

But Coleraine finished the half strongly and deservedly levelled on 37 minutes when a corner wasn't clearerd by the Larne defence and Eoin Bradley was able to swivel before lashing home a rising shot over the head of home keeper Conor Devlin.

Bannsiders striker celebrates after making it 1-1 at Inver Park
Bannsiders striker celebrates after making it 1-1 at Inver Park

And the visitors took a lead into the interval, scoring in stoppage time when Jamie Glackin's corner was headed back across goal by Bradley and Josh Carson was on hand to poke home from close range.

Coleraine missed a great chance to extend their lead on 65 minutes when goalkeeper Conor Devlin blocked from substitute James McLaughlin in a one-on-one situation - one of a number of fine saves from the former Cliftonville stopper.

The Bannsiders were left to rue that miss a minute later when Graham Kelly's hopeful-looking ball forward caught the Coleraine defence napping and Mark Randall raced clear to beat Chris Johns for the equaliser.

Linfield's victory at Milltown does little to reflect the leaders' dominance against basement side Warrenpoint.

Waterworth's excellent lob put the Blues in front after just 47 seconds and at no point did they look in danger of surrendering their lead.

Point keeper Mark Byrne made several good saves to frustrate Linfield before Shayne Lavery latched onto Rohan Ferguson's long ball forward to double Linfield's advantage and secure the win in stoppage time.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership results - Saturday 14 December
Ballymena United 3-2Dungannon Swifts
Glentoran1-1Crusaders
Institute1-4Glenavon
Larne2-2Coleraine
Warrenpoint Town 0-2Linfield
Bluefin Sport Championship
Ballinamallard Utd4-2Portadown
Dundela0-3Ards
H&W Welders2-3Knockbreda
Loughgall0-1Queen's University
PSNI2-6Ballyclare Comrades