THE Red Army marches on and few teams in the Danske Bank Irish Premier League seem to be able to stop them.
An 80th minute strike by super sub Joe Gormley sealed Cliftonville’s win over Crusaders in the Boxing Day derby in front a packed north Belfast crowd.
The 1-0 win means the Solitude men are now nine points clear at the top as they head towards the New Year.
But Gormley’s the low shot into the corner had Crusaders players appealing for offside. Their plea fell on deaf ears.
It was against the run of play as Crusaders had up until then the best of goal scoring chances.
Timmy Adamson will rue his two good chances and Colin Coates will be wondering how he missed putting a header into the net from just three yards out. Instead, it went over the bar much to the amazement of fans.
In the first half, it looked as if it was going to be Crusaders day. Gary McCutcheon put the ball in the back of the net, sending his team’s fans wild only for it to be ruled offside.
Timmy Adamson also had a good chance to break the deadlock but unfortunately he hit the side netting having only Conor Devlin to beat.
In the second half, Sean O’Neill denied Liam Boyce and Devlin saved a Declan Caddell header.
Adamson then mis-hit a shot, allowing O’Neill to gather easily, and defender Coates should have scored for the Crues.
Following his introduction from the bench, Gormley was wide with an effort but found his range to strike home the winning goal, to the delight of the large home support.
After the match, Reds manager Tommy Breslin knew his team had got out of jail.
“We were not at our best, but it was good to get the result in front of a big crowd,” said Breslin.
“We maybe had a bit of luck with the offside decision, but these things tend to even themselves out over the season.”
In the other all best derby, Linfield grabbed the three points over Glentorana after snatching two late goals in front a packed home crowd.
Jay Magee headed Glentoran into an early lead on 17 minutes after team mate Stephen McAlorum to get red carded for an off the ball incident with Michael Gault just five minutes on the clock.
Elliott Morris had kept Glentoran in the game with a string of great saves as the Oval men looked on their way to a win over their arch rivals.
But on 75 minutes Mark McAllister finally beat Morris and Linfield were back on level terms, much to the delight of the Windsor Park faithful.
And in sub Ross Clarke put Linfield’s noses in front with a scrappy goal in the Glentoran’s muddy box.