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Irish Premiership Round-Up: Ballymena fight back at Warrenpoint to stay two points clear of Linfield

Sat, Dec 08 2018

Credit: NIFL

Ballymena United remain two clear at the top of the Danske Bank as they fought from behind to take three points away to relegation-threatened Warrenpoint Town.

The league leaders trailed heading into the break but a quickfire brace from top scorer Cathair Friel heralded a turnaround that saw them run out 4-2 winners.

Warrenpoint took the lead ten minutes before the break when Ciaran O’Connor was fouled in the box, and Robert Norton made no mistake from 12 yards.

The hosts’ lead lasted just three minutes, however, as Friel levelled the game before adding his second on the stroke of half time.

Adam Leckie added another early in the second half and looked to have sealed it when James Knowles made it 4-1 with 11 minutes to go, but Marc Griffin scored to set up a nervy finish.

Linfield kept up the pressure in second spot thanks to a crushing 4-1 victory over defending champions Crusaders at Windsor Park.

Joel Cooper opened the scoring with a deflected effort after just 11 minutes, and Jimmy Callacher doubled their lead with a well-placed header three minutes later.

Josh Robinson made it 3-0 within four minutes on the resumption as he stabbed home at the second attempt.

Jordan Stewart made it 4-0 six minutes later with a wonderful solo effort and, despite substitute Philip Lowry pulling one back for Crues, David Healy’s side ran out easy winners.

Glenavon are now six points off the pacesetters after they came out the wrong side of a six-goal thriller against Cliftonville at Solitude.

Rory Donnelly headed the Reds in front inside five minutes, but goals either side of the break from Conor McCloskey and Andrew Mitchell had the Lurgan Blues in control.

Stephen Garrett equalised just before the hour, however, and Donnelly added his second before Conor McDonald volleyed home to make it 4-2 and lift the Reds above Crusaders into fourth.

There were six goals in another entertaining encounter at the Brandywell as mid-table Institute and Glentoran played out a 3-3 draw.

The away side led three times through John Herron and a brace from Robbie McDaid, the striker’s second holding the lead until the 88th minute.

A Dylan Davidson own goal and a super strike from Aaron Harkin had twice pegged it back for the home side, before Joe McCready sealed a deserved point two minutes from time.

Coleraine managed their first win in four as last season’s league runners-up edged out Ards 1-0 at the Showgrounds thanks to Jamie McGonigle’s strike, leaving them sixth in the table.

And there was no change at the bottom as Paul McElroy cancelled out Declan Carville’s opener to ensure Dungannon Swifts stay a point ahead of Newry City in the battle for survival.