Irish Premiership: Crusaders 3-1 Coleraine

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Crusaders 3-1 Coleraine

Jordan Owens equalled the Crusaders scoring record as the league leaders beat Coleraine to extend their advantage at the top to eight points.

Jordan Forsyth hit the woodwork in a first half dominated by the hosts before Josh Robinson fired Crusaders ahead seconds after the restart.

Ruairi Harkin levelled with a superb free-kick but it was soon 2-1 thanks to a BJ Burns penalty.

Owens blasted in the third to join Glenn Hunter on 157 goals for the club.

It was a deserved win for the champions while a lacklustre Coleraine suffered a fourth straight defeat.

Forsyth rifled against a post in a one-sided opening 45 minutes while Owens saw his header cleared off the line by Harkin.

Crues keeper Sean O'Neill at full stretch but he can't keep out Ruairi Harkin's brilliant free-kick
Crues keeper Sean O'Neill at full stretch but he can't keep out Ruairi Harkin's brilliant free-kick

Robinson, Paul Heatley and Matthew Snoddy also went close as the visitors held out until the break.

The second half was just seconds old when Robinson latched on to an Owens flick before guiding the ball past keeper Andy Findlay.

Coleraine had rarely threatened threatened but skipper Harkin fizzed a 30-yard free-kick low into the corner to make it 1-1 on 58 minutes.

Crusaders were back in front two minutes later, a Darren McCauley handball punished by a composed spot-kick from Burns.

Owens sealed the points, and made a bit of history, with a close-range finish after 78 minutes.

Coleraine remain in third but Oran Kearney's side has now fallen 12 points behind the Crues.

What they said

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter said: "We had a foothold on the game from start to finish - we could've had a number of goals in the first but couldn't get the breakthrough.

"But we got the goals we needed and it was a good effort from us, I'm pleased.

"I'm thrilled for Jordan. He's been here since he was 14 or 15, what a fantastic character and we love him here.

"He'll go on and beat that record by some distance."

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