Irish Premiership: Linfield cut gap on defeated Crues

Andrew Waterworth set up Aaron Burns for Linfield's equaliser and the pair celebrate making it 1-1
Andrew Waterworth set up Aaron Burns for Linfield's equaliser and the pair celebrate making it 1-1

Linfield edged Ballinamallard 2-1 to close to within four points of Crusaders after the Premiership leaders lost 1-0 at Coleraine.

Aaron Burns and Stephen Lowry scored for the Blues in a comeback Ferney Park win while Eoin Bradley's penalty sunk the Crues at the Showgrounds.

Jay Donnelly's double gave Cliftonville a 2-1 win over Ballymena and Michael Ruddy netted as Ards beat Glenavon 1-0.

Dungannon beat basement boys Portadown 1-0 with Peter McMahon on target.

Relive Saturday's Premiership action

Ryan Curran gave the Mallards a deserved first-half lead with a clinical strike into the bottom corner.

Linfield improved after the break and substitute Burns fired home from Andrew Waterworth's cross to level.

Lowry clinches victory

In a decisive final 10 minutes Mallards forward Jason McCartney hit the bar before Lowry smashed in the winner.

Johnny Lafferty was dismissed after the final whistle following a confrontation with a Linfield player.

"There were a few words said at half-time and we eventually got over the line," said Lowry.

"We believe we can go on and win the league title. As soon as I struck the ball, I knew it was going in."

It could be a massive result in the title race as David Healy's men capitalised on the narrow defeat for Crusaders.

Bradley slotted home the spot-kick on 15 minutes after a handball from former Bannsiders defender Howard Beverland.

A delighted Eoin Bradley celebrates scoring against Crusaders at the Showgrounds
A delighted Eoin Bradley celebrates scoring against Crusaders at the Showgrounds

Crusaders pressed in vain for an equaliser with David Cushley slicing wide from close range in the dying minutes.

The results set up a mouth-watering showdown between the top two at Windsor Park in a fortnight.

Coleraine are now unbeaten in 14 games and remain in third and two points clear of Cliftonville.

Donnelly's glancing header put the Reds in front against Ballymena at Solitude but the visitors hit back with a Johnny McMurray goal.

Premiership table

A dangerous tackle on Stephen Garrett saw United midfielder Tony Kane red-carded on 54 minutes and Donnelly won it on 88 minutes with an instinctive finish.

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton rung the changes for the visit to Ards as he plans for next weekend's Irish Cup semi-final against Coleraine.

Mark Patton hit the Ards woodwork before Ruddy netted on the rebound with a minute left after his penalty was saved by James Taylor.

It's looking increasingly bleak for Portadown, who are 14 points adrift at the bottom with just five games left.

A former Ports player condemned them to defeat at Shamrock Park, with Peter McMahon finishing at the second attempt in the first half to secure the points for Dungannon.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership - Saturday, 25 March
Ards1-0Glenavon
Ballinamallard Utd1-2Linfield
Cliftonville2-1Ballymena Utd
Coleraine1-0Crusaders
Portadown0-1Dungannon Swifts

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