Irish Premiership: Linfield 1-1 Crusaders

Linfield's lead at the top has been cut to the minimum although the Blues have a game in hand on champions Cliftonville

Linfield's lead at the top of the Irish Premiership has been cut to one point as they were held to a draw by third-placed Crusaders at Windsor Park.

Home keeper Jonathan Tuffey made a fine save from Andy Smith's volley early on while Linfield's Philip Lowry was wide.

The Blues went in front on 26 minutes when Michael Carvill's free-kick beat the wall and keeper Sean O'Neill.

Crusaders equalised in first half stoppage-time when Tuffey's blunder gifted a tap-in to Jordan Owens.

It was a howler by the Blues keeper as he let a harmless free-kick by Chris Morrow slip through his hands to leave Crues striker Owens with the simplest of tasks.

In the second half Crues keeper O'Neill made a good stop from Andrew Waterworth and the game fizzled out in a draw.

"We're happy to get a point here. If we had lost I think we would have been out of the title race," said Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter.

"It was a tense game. We got off to a reasonable start and their keeper made a magnificent save - we thought the ball was destined for the top corner.

"We are disappointed with the free-kick award which led to their goal because Colin Coates clearly wins the ball.

"Linfield will be disappointed about the way they conceded and in the second half chances were few and far between."