Irish Premiership: Crusaders 3-0 Cliftonville

Colin Coates (right) battles with Cliftonville's Jonathan McMurray at Seaview

Two goals from Colin Coates helped Crusaders beat under-strength champions Cliftonville in Monday's rearranged Premiership derby at Seaview.

After a goal-less first half, Coates netted a 58th-minute penalty after David Rainey had been brought down by goalkeeper Ryan Brown.

Jordan Owens headed the second goal on 66 minutes while Coates blasted in the third a minute from time.

The match was originally postponed in February because of a loyalist protest.

Monday's occasion lacked atmosphere with Cliftonville fans boycotting the game after the club had only been given a ticket allocation of 200 for the game.

With the Premiership title already in the bag and the Irish Cup final to follow, Reds manager Tommy Breslin opted to pick an almost entirely second-string selection with Ciaran Caldwell the only regular in the starting line-up.

The Crues had the first serious attempt on goal in the fifth minute as Coates fired just wide after a David McMaster cross.

At the other end, Caldwell set up a chance for Darren Stuart in the 12th minute but Sean O'Neill blocked the effort.

Caldwell fired over another Reds half-chance two minutes before half-time before a low-key opening period came to a close.

The game did liven up after the break as O'Neill again denied Stuart in the 53rd minute after a James Knowles pass.

Brown then denied Rainey three minutes later at the other end before Crusaders broke the deadlock on 58 minutes from the penalty spot.

The spot-kick was awarded by referee David Malcolm when Rainey was felled by Brown after Dermot McVeigh had failed to clear and the Reds keeper was possibly fortunate not to receive a red card for the challenge.

Coates slotted the penalty with a typically emphatic finish to the roof of the net and the lead was doubled eight minutes later as Owens nodded a Craig McClean cross past Brown.

Crusaders bossed the remainder of the contest and Coates struck the third a minute from time after the Reds defence had failed to clear a Chris Morrow cross.

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