Irish Premiership: Dungannon Swifts 1-2 Crusaders

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Stephen O'Flynn late goal stuns Dungannon Swifts

Crusaders increased their lead at the top of the Irish Premiership to eight points as Stephen O'Flynn's injury-time winner saw off Dungannon Swifts.

The Swifts seemed to have rescued a point as Andy Mitchell hit an 86th-minute equaliser after Paul Heatley had put the champions ahead on 13.

But substitute O'Flynn restored Crusaders's lead in added time.

The Crues started the day six points clear but extended their advantage after Coleraine's defeat by Linfield.

Heatley fired Crusaders into the lead in the 13th minute after the Swifts defence had failed to deal with a diagonal long ball from Billy Joe Burns.

The Crues, boosted by a first-half wind advantage, continued to dominate with Jordan Forsythe firing inches wide and Swifts keeper Andy Coleman denying Heatley and Jordan Owens.

However, Dungannon had the elements in their favour in the second period and Paul McElroy tested Sean O'Neill after the restart with Andrew Hamilton also having an effort charged down.

O'Flynn's introduction appeared to have helped Crusaders re-establish control as Heatley volleyed just wide and Forsythe then went close again.

But the Swifts appeared to have snatched a point four minutes from time as Mitchell held his nerve to slot past O'Neill after the Crues defence had been marked absent.

However, Crusaders showed their champions's pedigree as the game entered injury-time as O'Flynn headed a Burns cross past the unlucky Coleman.

What they said

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter: "The pleasing aspect for us was that after they got the equaliser with four or five minutes left, we didn't just lie down.

"We just went for it and Stephen O'Flynn's finish in those conditions was just fantastic.

"We deserved it. Our first-half performance was fantastic. Their keeper made two fantastic saves and we could have been three or four up at half-time."

Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree: "I'm gutted for the players.

"It has happened too many times this season where we score a goal and then concede straight away.

"After our equaliser, I fully expected us to kick on and maybe go on and win it but we decided to sit five to 10 yards deeper than we had during the rest of the game and that invited a little bit of pressure on to us."

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