Irish Premiership: Crusaders retain seven-point lead over Linfield

Declan Caddell is congratulated by Crusaders team-mates after opening the scoring at the Oval
Declan Caddell is congratulated by Crusaders team-mates after opening the scoring at the Oval

Crusaders maintained their seven-point lead over Linfield at the top of the table by beating 10-man Glentoran 3-0, with the Blues defeating Glenavon 2-1.

Declan Caddell, Gavin Whyte and Paul Heatley scored for the Crues while Nacho Novo was sent-off for the Glens.

Andrew Waterworth netted Linfield's winner after Aaron Burns had scored and Andy McGrory equalised with a penalty.

Cliftonville beat Ards 2-1, Ballymena saw off Dungannon 3-2 and Coleraine emerged 4-2 winners over Portadown.

Re-live all the action from a busy day in the Irish Premiership as it happened

Champions Crusaders were always in control at the Oval and eased in front in the 16th minute when an unmarked Caddell headed past Elliott Morris.

Gavin Whyte slipped the ball under the keeper to extend the lead two minutes later after a neat interchange with Paul Heatley and then Novo was sent-off for an attempted head-butt on Caddell just before half-time.

Heatley ghosted behind the Glens back four and poked the ball home on 76 minutes to give the final scoreline an even more convincing look.

At Mourneview Park, Burns blasted the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards just after the half hour mark but McGrory restored parity with a penalty after his cross was adjudged to have been handled by Mark Stafford.

The Lurgan Blues then had midfielder Ciaran Martyn sent-off for two yellow cards, the second meted out for a late challenge on Ross Gaynor.

Waterworth netted the decisive strike 10 minutes from time with a shot which deflected off Kris Lindsay and past Jonny Tuffey after the ball broke to the Blues forward inside the area.

Aaron Burns shoots Linfield into the lead in the first half against Glenavon
Aaron Burns shoots Linfield into the lead in the first half against Glenavon

Cliftonville suffered an early setback at Solitude when Michael Ruddy scored a spot-kick for Ards in the 30th minute after Levi Ives was penalised for handball.

David McDaid fired into the bottom corner three minutes after the break and Ives made amends for his earlier indiscretion by slotting in from the edge of the box midway through the second half.

Fourth-placed Ballymena United were also forced to mount a comeback at the Showgrounds after Dungannon took the lead thanks to Kris Lowe's thunderous effort from Paul McElroy's cross which went in off the underside of the bar after 14 minutes.

Kyle Owens equalised with a glancing header one minute after the resumption and Tony Kane rolled the bottom into the bottom corner for his 12th penalty of the season on 57 to nudge David Jeffrey's side ahead after Johnny McMurray had been dragged down.

The league's leading goalscorer, Andy Mitchell, took his tally to 19 on 62 minutes, tapping over the line after his initial effort went through the legs of Ross Glendinning and stuck in the mud.

Central defender Caolan Loughran popped up to nod in the winner with a bullet header from Kane's delivery in the 78th.

Bradley carried off for Bannsiders

Coleraine's 4-2 victory at Ballycastle Road was marred by an injury to Bannsiders striker Eoin Bradley, who was stretchered off in the early stages after a lengthy delay in play with broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Adam Foley gave Portadown a first-minute lead with a sweetly struck left-foot shot but Brad Lyons levelled and then headed home his second of the game from a corner.

Alan Byrne followed up to score for the visitors before half-time after Chris Johns had saved Foley's initial snapshot.

Neil McCafferty curled in a brilliant free-kick to edge Oran Kearney's outfit ahead, while Darren McCauley grabbed the fourth two minutes from time.

Irish Premiership - Saturday 14 January - Results
Ballymena Utd3-2Dungannon Swifts
Cliftonville2-1Ards
Coleraine4-2Portadown
Glenavon1-2Linfield
Glentoran0-3Crusaders

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