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Sports Direct NI Women’s Premiership

Cliftonville Ladies and Lisburn Rangers made it two wins from two to lead the way in the Sports Direct Women’s Premiership.

Elsewhere, Linfield Women were in seventh heaven as they kicked off their campaign in style, while Crusaders Strikers bounced back from last week’s opening defeat to get their first points on board.

The Reds are top on goal difference after hitting five for the second consecutive game with victory over Derry City Women at Solitude. Katie Markey opened the scoring on 36 minutes from point blank range, with Danielle Maxwell following up moments later with a strong strike from the edge of the area into the roof of the net. Maxwell turned provider just after the hour to tee Marissa Callaghan up to knock home a third low into the corner, before Kelsie Burrows added to the home advantage after Vicky Carleton’s initial effort had been pushed into her path. Carla Devine completed the scoring late on with a tap-in past the City keeper after running onto Callaghan’s precision pass.

Newcomers Lisburn Rangers continued their amazing start to life in the top flight with a four-goal defeat of Larne Women at Inver Park. Faye Loughran broke the deadlock on the quarter hour, with Ellie-Mae Dickson following up 15 minutes after that. Gracie Conway extended the visitors’ advantage eight minutes after the break before, on 69 minutes, Molly Loughran wrapped the scoring up.

Linfield produced a storming second half performance to sweep past Lisburn Ladies at the Bluebell Stadium. Cora Chambers had edged the Blues in front a few minutes from the interval, but the real damage was done after the break. Eve Reilly doubled Linfield’s lead on 48 minutes, with Chambers then hitting two goals in seven minutes to bag her hat-trick. That was how it stayed until the closing moments when Bernadette Ferreira knocked home two goals in as many minutes with Reilly then doubling her own tally in stoppage time.

Meanwhile, at Seaview, Crusaders Strikers recorded their first win of the campaign at the expense of Mid Ulster Ladies. Julie Nelson fired the Strikers in front on 14 minutes from a corner, but Laura Kelly responded for the visitors with a free kick late in the first half. However Alison McMaster restored the Crues’ advantage on 64 minutes with Amy McGivern hitting a third with nine minutes remaining. Substitute Jessica McGuinness added a fourth from the spot in stoppage time, and moments later found the net again for her second of the evening.