Irish Premiership: Crusaders 2-2 Linfield

Crusaders move one point clear at the top of the Premiership after a 2-2 draw with Linfield at Seaview.

Crusaders moved a point clear at the top of the Irish Premiership after Monday night's 2-2 draw against title rivals Linfield.

Paul Heatley netted a superb strike in the 27th minute to put the Crues in front but Linfield hit back quickly to level through an Andy Waterworth shot.

Gavin Whyte pounced on a mistake by Sean Ward to beat Blues keeper Jonathan Tuffey and make it 2-1 to Crusaders.

Michael Carvill scored just before the hour for Linfield's second equaliser.

Before the game, Crusaders had been top just by virtue of goals scored, so the point takes them one clear of Ballymena United and Portadown.

Linfield edge up one place to fourth and are now level on points with the second and third-placed teams.

Warren Feeney's Blues had a scare in the fourth minute when Crusaders claimed they should have had a penalty for a hand ball by Ross Clarke. To the visitors' relief, referee Ross Dunlop ruled it had happened just outside the area and awarded a free-kick.

Paul Heatley fires Crusaders into the lead against Linfield
Paul Heatley's superb first-time finish against Linfield took him on to six league goals for the season

Soon afterwards Heatley had a chance from a Jordan Owens knock down but keeper Jonthan Tuffey made the stop.

Crusaders took the lead when defender Craig McClean's cross from the left was headed down by big striker Owens and Heatley hit it acrobatically on the turn for a superb finish.

However, the lead lasted just two minutes as Linfield responded with Waterworth nipping in to divert an Aaron Burns effort into the net from close-range.

The Crues regained the lead in the 37th minute when Whyte pounced on a mistake by Blues defender Sean Ward. Keeper Tuffey got a hand to the promising teenager's shot but could not keep it out.

Crusaders had a couple of chances before the break but surrendered the lead for a second time when Carvill netted for the Blues in the 59th minute.

The ball went in off the Linfield forward's chest as Billy Joe Burns attempted to clear the danger from Ivan Sproule's cross.

Former Linfield striker Timmy Adamson missed a good chance to put Crusaders ahead for a third time when he headed over after Owens had nodded on Craig McClean's delivery.

Heatley, already on a yellow, was lucky not to see red for a late challenge on Ward.

So, an entertaining game finished level although Stephen Baxter's Crues will probably feel they should have won as they had the better chances.

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