Q Radio Sport
It was a winning start to 2022 for Linfield, Larne, Ballymena United and Cliftonville while Crusaders and Carrick Rangers battled to a scoreless draw at Seaview.
Leaders Linfield gave their goal difference a boost with a 6-1 win away to struggling Dungannon Swifts.
A frantic start to the game saw four goals scored within the opening quarter-of-an-hour. Kirk Millar fired the Blues in front as early as the second minute but Darragh McBrien levelled for the Swifts sixty seconds later.
Chris Shields and Jordan Stewart then struck in quick succession to tip the balance firmly in Linfield's favour, with further goals coming via Trai Hume, Michael Newberry and Ahmed Salam in the second half.
Cliftonville moved back into second spot courtesy of a 2-0 win over Glenavon at Mourneview Park.
Levi Ives opened the scoring on 17 minutes with a perfectly executed free-kick into the top corner, with Ryan Curran adding a second in the 54th minutes.
Ballymena United hit four without reply to get the better of Portadown at The Showgrounds.
Going into the game with a threadbare squad, the Sky Blues moved in front through Jude Winchester on 21 minutes, with David Parkhouse adding a second after half-an-hour. Ross Redman then scored direct from a corner early in the second half before Parkhouse doubling his tally for the afternoon on 79 minutes.
Just 3 points separate the top 3 after the New Year's Day fixtures. @cliftonvillefc can move above last year's champions @OfficialBlues on Tuesday with a home win in the North Belfast derby v 5th-placed @CrusadersFC #DanskeBankPrem pic.twitter.com/U7s96PA409— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) January 1, 2022
In the evening streamed game from the BetMcLean Oval Larne defeated Glentoran by the odd goal in five.
Andy Scott fired the visitors in front on 13 minutes before leading scorer Jay Donnelly levelled midway through the first half.
The sides then traded own goals either side of the hour mark but David McDaid popped up on 70 minutes to fire home Larne's spectacular winner.
Meanwhile, Crusaders and Carrick Rangers finished scoreless at Seaview. For Carrick it was a first point after six straight defeats while it was a second successive 0-0 draw for Stephen Baxter's side.
Levi Ives celebrates opening the scoring for Cliftonville. Pic: Declan Roughan/INPHO