Heatley double restores Crusaders' five-point lead

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Irish Premiership : Crusaders 2-0 Dungannon Swifts

Paul Heatley scored twice in the second half as Crusaders beat Dungannon Swifts 2-0 to restore their five-point lead at the top of the Irish Premiership table.

Heatley fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the box in the 68th minute and then curled a sublime right-foot effort into the top corner on 74.

Third-placed Glenavon continued their recent good form by beating Coleraine 1-0 at Ballycastle Road.

Kevin Braniff headed home the winner from six yards out on the hour mark.

The Lurgan Blues are now unbeaten in their last nine away matches, stretching back to November, while the Bannsiders have lost five of their last seven home games.

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Irish Premiership : Coleraine 0-1 Glenavon

In the first half, Coleraine's Ruaidhri Higgins saw his drive whistle past the post and Kevin Braniff and Declan O'Brien went close for the visitors.

Braniff netted the winner against the run of play after the home defence failed to deal with Andy Hall's free-kick.

The best of the second-half chances fell to the hosts but Rodney Brown's header clipped the bar and Darren McCauley was denied by Jonny Tuffey.

Coleraine miss late penalty

Tuffey also made a fine save from James McLaughlin's 83rd-minute penalty after Kris Lindsay had been sent-off for a second bookable offence, a handball inside the area.

Crusaders had seen their lead at the summit reduced to two points when Linfield defeated Ballinamallard on Thursday night and the champions' recent form was not encouraging, having picked up just nine points from their previous six league fixtures.

In contrast, the Swifts had accumulated 13 points from six matches and had suffered just one reverse in seven Premiership outings.

Crues uninspiring in first half

Stephen Baxter's side started brightly as Michael Carvill saw his overhead kick sail over the bar and Andrew Mitchell struck a right-foot effort from 25 yards just wide.

Jordan Owens's shot was saved by Andy Coleman but for the most part, it was a lethargic, unconvincing first-half performance by the leaders.

After the break, Jordan Forsythe's header came off the post and into the hands of the goalkeeper, then Swifts forward Ally Teggart found himself through on goal but his left-foot attempt flew over the bar.

Heatley's double salvo in the space of six minutes took his season's tally to 22 goals and ensured Crusaders enjoy a five-point cushion ahead of their trip to Ballinamallard on Tuesday night.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership results
Carrick Rangers1-2Glentoran
Coleraine0-1Glenavon
Crusaders2-0Dungannon Swifts
Portadown1-3Warrenpoint Town

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