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Irish Premiership: Cliftonville put three past Crusaders in north Belfast derby

Cliftonville ended a five-game winless with a 3-0 victory over Crusaders in the first north Belfast derby of the season at Seaview.

Chris Gallagher opened the scoring in the 18th minute before Rory Hale doubled Cliftonville's lead before half-time.

Ben Wilson added a third after the restart to put the visitors in control.

Cliftonville go fifth in the table with the win, one point behind their north Belfast rivals.

Gallagher gave Jim Magilton's side the lead in the 18th minute after Ronan Doherty picked him out from a corner and the midfielder made no mistake by firing into Jonny Tuffey's top left-hand corner.

With two minutes left of the first half, Gallagher turned provider for Cliftonville's second when he played the ball to Hale on the edge of the Crues penalty area and the captain made no mistake, slotting into the bottom corner.

Wilson gave Cliftonville a strong start to the second half by adding a third in the 55th minute. Hale found Wilson in the penalty area and the unmarked forward made no mistake to add the third for the Reds.

Cliftonville had a chance to extend their lead when midway through the first half when Wilson ran on to a ball over the top of the Crusaders defence before finding the back of the net, but he was ruled to be offside by the assistant referee.

The Crues had chances of their own. From one of those, Daniel Larmour rose highest to meet Ben Kennedy's in-swinging corner but keeper David Odumosu was at full stretch to expertly deny the defender.

Paul Heatley was next to go close for Stephen Baxter's side when the winger nipped in front of Odhran Casey but, with just Odumosu to beat and the angle narrowing, his effort would roll the wrong side of the Cliftonville goal.

The Hatchetmen should have pulled one back midway through the second half when Heatley delivered an inviting cross to the back post for Adam Lecky, but Sean Stewart sensed the danger and headed behind to deny the striker an open goal.

At the other end, Hale had a chance to make it 4-0 with 15 minutes remaining after Ronan Doherty found the midfielder in the penalty area, but the former Crues man could only shoot wide when it looked easier to score.

The Seaview side are now without a win in their last four matches in all competitions.