Irish Premiership: Top three Crusaders, Linfield, Ballymena all win

Allan Jenkins
Allan Jenkins' 51st-minute goal set Ballymena on their way to a comeback win over Glentoran

The top three sides in the Irish Premiership all won on Saturday as Crusaders stayed five points clear of Linfield at the head of the table.

The Crues were comfortable 5-1 winners over Ballinamallard United, while Linfield triumphed 4-0 over Ards.

Third-placed Ballymena came from a goal down to beat Glentoran 4-1.

Cliftonville were 3-0 victors away to Portadown, Coleraine scored twice late on to draw 2-2 with Glenavon and Dungannon saw off Carrick Rangers 3-0.

Re-live all Saturday's Irish Premiership action as it happened here

Paul Heatley tucked the ball past Stefan McCusker after Declan Caddell supplied the assist to give Crusaders a 16th-minute lead at Seaview.

Ryan Mayse beat the offside trap and home goalkeeper Sean O'Neill to level 10 minutes later but Jordan Owens restored his side's advantage with a 33rd-minute looping header.

Stephen Baxter's team added second half goals through Craig McClean's header from a Caddell corner on 55 and then two strikes from Gavin Whyte.

Linfield were always in control at Windsor Park as they cantered to a comfortable victory, which saw Ards drop two places to sixth in the Premiership standings.

Aaron Burns scores for Linfield
Aaron Burns is congratulated after scoring Linfield's opening goal against Ards

Aaron Burns got the goalscoring underway with a neat left-foot finish and Stephen Lowry made it 2-0 to the hosts four minutes later.

Kirk Millar fired in the third before the break and an Emmett Friars own goal on the hour completed the scoring.

Ballymena trailed the Glens 1-0 at half-time at the Showgrounds thanks to Curtis Allen's well executed left-foot finish but Allan Jenkins brought the sides level after poor defending by the visitors six minutes after the interval.

Willie Faulkner's header from a right-wing cross on the hour edged the Sky Blues ahead and two late Tony Kane penalties ensured that David Jeffrey's outfit took maximum points.

Kevin Braniff congratulates Eoin Bradley
Kevin Braniff congratulates fellow Glenavon striker Eoin Bradley as the Lurgan Blues take the lead against Coleraine

Glenavon looked set to leave Ballycastle Road with three points after Eoin Bradley headed in Andy Hall's cross in the 32nd minute and Kevin Braniff slid home a second on 67.

Jamie McGonigle pulled one back with five minutes remaining and Jordan Allen steered home the equaliser from McGonigle's teasing cross in the 88th minute.

Stefan Lavery gave Dungannon the lead against Carrick with his first touch, a glancing header, after 68 minutes, with Andy Mitchell then grabbing two goals to give the final scoreline a more convincing look.

Like the Swifts, Cliftonville scored three times in the second half as they saw off Portadown 3-0 at Shamrock Park to move up to fourth spot in the league.

Jason McGuinness broke the deadlock on 55, substitute David McDaid tapped home the second on 75 and Stephen Garrett grabbed the third in added time.

Danske Bank Premiership - Final scores
Ballymena Utd4-1Glentoran
Carrick Rangers0-3Dungannon Swifts
Coleraine2-2Glenavon
Crusaders5-1Ballinamallard Utd
Linfield4-0Ards
Portadown0-3Cliftonville

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