Q Radio Sport
Linfield are a point clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership after beating Ballymena on a night which saw their two title rivals, Glentoran and Cliftonville, clash at the BetMcLean Oval.
The Blues did it the hard way at The Showgrounds. They led at the break thanks to Steven McCullough's 35th minute own goal but had to play almost the remainder of the game a man down following Christy Manzinga's dismissal a few minutes later.
But a Chris Shields spot-kick, awarded after Jamie Mulgrew had been brought down by Sean Graham with just over a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, saw David Healy's ten-men secure the points.
Meanwhile, at The Oval, a Rory Hale goal early in the second half handed Cliftonville victory over Glentoran when he slotted past Aaron McCarey after getting on the end of Ryan Curran's ball forward from the edge of the area.
FT: Irish Premiership— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) March 8, 2022
Ballymena 0-2 Linfield
Carrick 2-2 Portadown
Crusaders 1-0 Coleraine
Glentoran 0-1 Cliftonville
Larne 1-1 Glenavon
Warrenpoint 2-3 Dungannon
Blues go a point clear at top but have star striker Christy Manzinga sent off at Showgrounds.#DanskeBankPrem pic.twitter.com/AjdkypUBAT
It was a big night at the bottom of the table. Carrick Rangers came from two goals and a man down to earn a point from Portadown's visit to the Loughview Leisure Arena while Dungannon Swifts defeated Warrenpoint Town by the odd goal in five at Milltown.
Elsewhere, a Philip Lowry finish midway through the first half secured the points for Crusaders at home to Coleraine while Matthew Fitzpatrick struck deep into stoppage time to cancel out Lee Bonis' third minute opener as Larne and Glenavon shared the spoils at Inver Park.
⚽️All to play for in #DanskeBankPrem - 8 games remaining and just 3 points separate the top 3. Next up - leaders @OfficialBlues facing a tough test v @CrusadersFC Friday night: pic.twitter.com/vRh4NwCNRg— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) March 8, 2022
David Jeffrey's Ballymena - beaten at home, by 10 men