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Linfield heaped more misery on bottom side Portadown with a 4-1 victory over the struggling mid-Ulster side at Windsor Park.
Ross Gaynor opened the scoring after 25 minutes with a fine strike after being set up by Andrew Waterworth, and Mark Stafford added a second five minutes into the second half with a header that the match officials ruled to have just crossed the line, much to the frustration of the Ports players.
Birthday boy Paul Smyth got on the score sheet midway through the second half with a cute close-range finish, before Robbie Garrett briefly stemmed the flow with a fine effort from distance for the Ports.
That goal proved to be a mere consolation though, as Aaron Burns headed home Linfield’s fourth goal four minutes from time.
Ballymena United edged out Cliftonville with a 3-2 victory in a pulsating game at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Saturday.
David McDaid opened the scoring for the visitors with a neat side-footed finish from four yards in the 25th minute, but Tony Kane equalised from the spot midway through the second half when Conor McCloskey was felled by Eamonn Seydak.
The Sky Blues took the lead in somewhat fortuitous fashion when Cahair Freil’s effort was diverted into the net by a Reds defender in the 81st minute, before Cliftonville conceded their second penalty of the game two minutes from time.
Seydak was again at fault as he was adjudged to have handled in the area, and Kane again made no mistake from 12 yards.
Cliftonville responded almost immediately when Ross Lavery found the net with a low drive, but Ballymena held on for the win.
Ards moved up to second in the table after a 2-0 win over struggling Glentoran at Clandeboye Park.
The Glens, under caretaker manager Roy Coyle following the resignation of Alan Kernaghan last week, struggled to get to grips with Niall Currie’s side from the kick-off, with former Glentoran man Johnny Taylor heading home an Emmett Friars corner after just seven minutes to give Ards the lead.
The visitors grew into the game in the second half with former Rangers star Nacho Novo growing in influence, but as the visitors pressed forward they were caught by an Ards counter attack , with substitute Ross Arthurs adding the finishing touch less than a minute after being introduced.
The result sees Ards remain four points behind leaders Crusdaers, while Glentoran remain ninth.
Coleraine earned their third successive Irish Premiership win courtesy of a 2-0 win over Carrick Rangers at the Coleraine Showgrounds.
After a goalless opening 45 minutes James McLaughlin’s header gave the hosts a 70th minute lead.
Carrick came forward in search of an equaliser, but Darren McCauley had the final say with a fine turn-and-shot past Carrick goalkeeper Brian Neeson in the a minute from time.
The result sees Coleraine move up to fourth in the table, while Carrick remain in 11th position.
Glenavon dropped to sixth in the Irish Premiership table after they fell to a home defeat to Ballinamallard on Saturday.
In what was a largely drab and uneventful game at Mourneview Park, the Lurgan Blues squandered their best chance when Paddy McCourt saw his penalty saved by the visitors’ goalkeeper Jack McGrath midway through the second half.
Just as the game looked to be heading towards a stalemate, Adam Lecky was brought down in the area deep into injury time, with the referee awarding a penalty for the offence.
Lecky stepped up to convert his spot kick and hand his side their first win of the campaign.
Crusaders remain four points clear of the chasing pack at the top of the Irish Premiership, after a 3-1 win over Dungannon Swifts at Seaview.
The hosts dominated the game in the opening stages but the visitors opened the scoring against the run of play, when Seanan Clucas raced through to put his side ahead after 30 minutes.
Crusaders bounced back almost immediately when Matt Hazley was adjudged to have fouled Gavin Whyte inside the area, and the young midfielder stepped up to convert from 12 yards.
Paul Heatley put Stephen Baxter's side in front in the 79th minute when he turned in a fine cross from Billy Joe Burns, before adding a second for good measure with a first-time shot in stoppage time to seal the win.
The result sees Crusaders maintain their unbeaten start toth4e season, while Dungannon drop to seventh place in the table.