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Summary

  1. Linfield 1-0 Crusaders
  2. Coleraine 2-0 Cliftonville
  3. Glenavon 3-0 Ballymena United
  4. Ards 4-1 Dungannon Swifts
  5. Ballinamallard United 3-0 Glentoran
  6. Portadown 2-1 Carrick Rangers

Live Reporting

By Matt Gault and Richard Petrie

All times stated are UK

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Signing off

Well, that's about it from a dramatic day in the title race with Linfield narrowing the gap on Crusaders to just three points at the top. It promises to be a thrilling climax to the season with four sets of fixtures still remaining and the Gibson Cup is now very much up for grabs.

The Blues are chasing a first league title in five years while the Crues can still secure a hat-trick of championship successes if they win all their remaining games,.

Keep an eye on the BBC Sport NI website tonight for all the goals from today's matches and join us next weekend for coverage of another round of matches in the local top flight.

Bye for now and thanks for joining us.

What they said

Ballinamallard Utd 3-0 Glentoran

We didn't deserve anything from the game. The way we conceded the goals was pathetic. We started off much the better team but it was a day when anything that could go wrong did go wrong.

Gary HaveronGlentoran manager

What they said

Ballinamallard Utd 3-0 Glentoran

This is a huge result for us. We were outstanding to a man. We are a young side but we played really well. The future is bright but we are still not safe so it's a huge game next Friday against a Portadown side who are fighting for their lives.

Gavin DykesBallinamallard manager

What they said

Ards 4-1 Dungannon Swifts

I thought we were dominant from start to finish. We worked hard during the week on how we were going to press them up the pitch and it worked a treat.

Colin NixonArds manager

How they stand

The top six of the Premiership table
BBC Sport
The top six of the Premiership table

What they said

Portadown 2-1 Carrick Rangers

I was embarrassed by our performance today. It was not good enough and our worst display for some time. We are in a difficult situation and we need players who want to play for the jersey and stand up and be counted.

Aaron CallaghanCarrick Rangers manager

What they said

Portadown 2-1 Carrick Rangers

I thought we were the better team over the 90 minutes and we had the best chances. We had quite a few teenagers out today and they got some good experience under their belt. Hopefully they will only get stronger as the years go by.

Niall CurriePortadown manager

What they said

Coleraine 2-0 Cliftonville

We just looked lethargic and I can't put my finger on it. In the first half I thought we were good but the second half was unacceptable. We didn't show up and the boys let themselves down. It was just not good enough. Fight, heart and desire is all I ask for for the remainder of the season.

Gerard LyttleCliftonville manager

What they said

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

Linfield deserved to win the game by a country mile. They had all the possession and dominance. We let ourselves down and let our supporters down. It was a very poor performance from us and I have let the players know in no uncertain terms what I thought of the display. It's up to them to respond to that. We still have a one-point advantage so it's still ours to lose. We have to bounce back.

Stephen BaxterCrusaders manager

What they said

Glenavon 3-0 Ballymena Utd

We didn't play anywhere near our potential. We are delighted to be in the top six and these are the games we want to be playing in and testing ourselves in, but we are honest enough to say that today's performance was not up to the standards we produced earlier in the year.

David JeffreyBallymena Utd manager

Kearney delight after Coleraine win

Coleraine 2-0 Cliftonville

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney

What they said

Glenavon 3-0 Ballymena Utd

I thought we were pretty dominant today from start to finish. The boys performed to their maximum - defensively we were sound and kept a clean sheet. We worked really hard and young Jordan Jenkins came up with two goals. He has got a talent and a knack of being in the right place at the right time and boy can he finish when he gets the chance. He just wants to shoot and score goals and he knows where the back of the net is.

Gary HamiltonGlenavon manager

What they said

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

It was a good win today, Crusaders are a difficult team to play against with the attacking threat they possess. But we edged it today, I think we were the better team and we deserved it. Watching from the stands was always going to be nervy, we had three or four opportunities to get a second but I'm just glad we got over the line. Crusaders are still huge favourites at this stage, even with the lead being just one point, but I'm still proud of the players that we've got to this stage. There's still a lot of football to be played but we just have to make sure we go to Ballymena next week and take care of our own business.

David HealyLinfield manager

What they said

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

It was win or bust for us really. If we didn't win, the league was over for us. A draw wouldn't have been enough but now we have given ourselves a chance. The first period was nip and tuck but the goal settled us down and we finished the first half strongly. The second half was scrappy and Crusaders put us under some pressure but we stood firm. Roy Carroll did well when he was called upon. We just want to keep our run and our challenge going now.

Jamie MulgrewLinfield midfielder

Mayse the man for the Mallards

Ballinamallard Utd 3-0 Glentoran

Ryan Mayse
Presseye
Ryan Mayse scored the first of Ballinamallard's three goals against Glentoran

Jenkins joy

Glenavon 3-0 Ballymena Utd

Teenager Jordan Jenkins grabbed the chance he was handed by manager Gary Hamilton with both hands, scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Ballymena United.

Jordan Jenkins
Presseye
Jordan Jenkins (centre) is congratulated by his Glenavon team-mates

Mallards ease past toothless Glens

Ballinamallard United 3-0 Glentoran

The Mallards enjoyed one of their finest performances of the season as they brushed Glentoran aside 3-0 at Ferney Park. 

Ryan Curran, Niall Owens and Shane McGinty got the goals for Gavin Dykes's side. A thoroughly impressive display by the home side that plunges Glentoran back into despair after recording successive wins for the first time this season. 

FULL-TIME

Ards 4-1 Dungannon Swifts

A fine victory for Ards and, if our sums are correct, it takes Colin Nixon's men above Glentoran in the table. The points and goal difference are the same, and Ards have scored more.

FULL-TIME

Glenavon 3-0 Ballymena Utd

Three points in the bag for Glenavon as they close the gap on Ballymena to four points, the sides occupying fifth and sixth positions respectively.

Just the tonic Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton will have wanted after the disappointment of last week's Irish Cup semi-final defeat to Coleraine.

FULL-TIME

Portadown 2-1 Carrick Rangers

The automatic relegation issue is not settled yet as a gutsy, late comeback secures a 2-1 win for Niall Currie's Portadown. They are now 11 points behind one-from-bottom Carrick with four matches left.

FULL-TIME

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

Rapturous applause rings out around Windsor Park as Linfield clinch a massive three points! 

Aaron Burns's first-half strike was enough to separate the sides and reduce their opponent's lead at the top to just one point. 

What a declaration of intent from David Healy's men!

While the match may not have fully delivered as a spectacle, it's difficult to overstate the importance of the result. Crusaders simply didn't create enough in attack - reeling from the absence of Jordan Owens - and the one moment of genuine quality from Burns proved decisive. 

Three points for Stephen Baxter's side away to Cliftonville next week is now absolutely imperative, and they will be hoping that David Jeffrey can get one over on his former side when Ballymena welcome Linfield to the Showgrounds. 

FULL-TIME

Coleraine 2-0 Cliftonville

Coleraine's outstanding unbeaten run is extended to 16 matches as they move five points ahead of Cliftonville in the standings thanks to Darren McCauley's second-half double.

SAVE!

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

O'Neill denies Burns to keep Crusaders alive! The scorer of the game's only goal was picked out expertly by substitute Kirk Millar, but couldn't find the back of the net this time. It will be immaterial though if it stays this way...

Four minutes added on

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

We're in the dying embers and Linfield are doing well at keeping possession and frustrating Crusaders, who are looking decidedly crestfallen now. 

GOAL

Glenavon 3-0 Ballymena Utd

Greg Moorhouse nets Glenavon's third on 83 minutes with a low effort.

That makes it eight goals without reply for the Lurgan Blues in their two league matches against David Jeffrey's charges at Mourneview Park this season.

And 15 goals in total from Gary Hamilton's men in their four Premiership encounters with the Sky Blues.

The old terrace chant, 'Can we play you every week?' could soon be heard resounding around Mourneview Park!

Time running out

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

Only five minutes left and Sean Ward replaces Chris Casement to provide some fresh legs for Linfield as they try to close out a massive victory. 

Meanwhile, Aaron Burns and Craig McClean exchange presumably expletive-laden sentiments after the former boots the ball into the stands to waste time. It's getting a bit tetchy down there. 

GOAL

Portadown 2-1 Carrick Rangers

Portadown quickly add a second through Luke Wilson. So the Ports keep their lead they won't be relegated today.

GOAL

Portadown 1-1 Carrick Rangers

Niall Henderson's 81st-minute penalty brings the Ports level.

CLOSE!

Coleraine 2-0 Cliftonville

James McLaughlin unleashes a shot which flies narrowly wide of the post.

Bannsiders in control

Coleraine 2-0 Cliftonville

Distinguished ex-Coleraine players Michael O'Neill and Steve Lomas must be impressed by their former side's endeavours this afternoon.

The Northern Ireland manager and the former international midfielder are both taking in the action at Ballycastle Road this afternoon.

MISS!

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

Heatley looks to the heavens after spurning a golden opportunity to draw level! A mistake from the Linfield defence allows the forward to break clear but his weak effort is stopped by Carroll. It's been one of those days for Heatley! 

Will Crusaders get another chance as big as that? If anything, they will hope that incident can inject some much-needed urgency into their play. 

Mikel Suarez has replaced Gavin Whyte as well. 

Blues still on top

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

The game has entered a bit of a lull and there's been a few sloppy passages of play, clearly indicating how nerves are still playing a part here. Crusaders are yet to demonstrate signs of a revival, though, and they're running out of time. Roy Carroll is surely surprised at how little he's been tested throughout this game, with or without Jordan Owens. 

GOAL

Coleraine 2-0 Cliftonville

Winger Darren McCauley scores his second of the game in the 72nd minute with a composed finish after Adam Mullan provided the through ball.

A delightful shot into the top right hand corner. The Bannsiders go marching on!

CLOSE!

Glenavon 2-0 Ballymena United

Kyle Owens glances a header just wide of the upright for the Sky Blues.

SAVE!

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

Burns is found with a corner and heads towards goal, but O'Neill does well to scurry across and spill it behind for a corner. Questionable set-piece defending from the champions yet again. 

GREAT SAVE!

Coleraine 1-0 Cliftonville

Jason Mooney produces a fine stop to save from Eoin Bradley.

GOAL

Ards 4-1 Dungannon Swifts

Guillaume Keke gets number four for Ards. Matthew Shevlin gets down the right and cuts the ball back for Keke to swivel and score in the 63rd minute. A bit of French polish there.

Reds response?

Coleraine 1-0 Cliftonville

Cliftonville are pushing for an equaliser at Ballycastle Road but struggling to create many clearcut chances against a well organised home defence. Jay Donnelly had the best opening but was unable to find the target.

The Reds have won only one of their last six but are the only team to win at the Coleraine Showgrounds this season.

Not so spectacular

Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

Gavin Whyte tries his luck with an acrobatic effort but it sails well over the bar. We know he possesses excellent technique but that was ambitious, even by his high standards. 63 minutes gone and it's all going to plan for Linfield - but will there be a late sting in the tail?

GOAL

Ards 3-1 Dungannon Swifts

Matthew Shevlin nets his second to restore the two-goal cushion for Ards. The young striker weaves his way through the Swifts defence to score in the 58th minute.