Christopher Curran (80)
Jay Donnelly (85)
Garry Breen (90 2)


Aaron Burns (15)
Aaron Burns (69p)


Jay Donnelly levelled for Cliftonville with five minutes to go (©INPHO/Matt Mackey)


Cliftonville staged an astounding revival to storm back from two goals down with ten minutes left to claim the points in a rip-roaring finale at Solitude.

The Reds might have opened the scoring after ten minutes when Joe Gormley got on the end of a ball into the area only to send an effort about a yard over.

However, the deadlock was broken after a quarter-of-an-hour in Linfield's favour when Chris Casement sent over a perfectly weighted cross from the right for Aaron Burns to stab home.

Gormley will feel he should have equalised on 26 minutes after Rory Donnelly squared the ball for him into the box but, from six yards out, he could only fire wide of the target.

And Gormley was thwarted for a third time four minutes from the break after he got away from Mark Haughey only for Roy Carroll to come out to block the danger.

That pattern repeated itself going into the second half, the former Peterborough United man creating some space for himself before turning to shoot but Carroll proved equal to the challenge.

But Linfield extended their advantage on 69 minutes. Burns was upended following a clumsy Jamie Harney challenge and after composing himself stepped up to convert from the stop despite Brian Neeson doing well to get a hand to the ball.

Cliftonville did pull a goal back with ten minutes remaining through skipper Chris Curran after his instinctive snapshot beat Carroll into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Remarkably, Barry Gray's side levelled with five minutes to go with a superb Jay Donnelly finish when he got his head to a Curran ball floated over from the right.

The drama was far from over, however, when another ball played in from the left by Curran was stabbed home by Garry Breen to send the home support into raptures of delight.

BBC Sport NI coverage

Cliftonville: Neeson, McGovern, Ives, Breen, Curran, Bagnall, Winchester, Gormley, Lavery, Cosgrove, R. Donnelly subs Long (not used), Harney (replaced Cosgrove 31), Hughes (not used), Garrett (replaced Winchester 78), J. Donnelly (replaced Lavery 63)

Linfield: Carroll, Haughey, Stafford, J. Stewart, Millar, Burns, Casement, Rooney, Mulgrew, Garrett, Quinn subs Callacher (not used), Lowry (replaced J. Stewart 60), Mitchell (replaced Millar 75), R. Clarke (not used), Strain (replaced Rooney 46)

Referee: Raymond Hetherington

Attendance: 2047

Tags:  Cliftonville  Linfield