Irish Premiership: Glentoran 1-3 Crusaders

Jordan Owens put Crusaders into the lead at the Oval
Jordan Owens put Crusaders ahead at the Oval with his eighth Premiership goal of the season

Crusaders are top of the Irish Premiership after beating Glentoran impressively at the Oval.

After Glentoran had largely bossed the opening half hour, Owens put the Crues ahead on 32 after the home defence had failed to deal with a long punt.

Crusaders doubled their lead in first-half injury-time as Diarmuid O'Carroll netted a penalty after he had been brought down by Elliot Morris.

Gary McCutcheon hit the third Crusaders goal on 69 before a Marcus Kane reply.

Crusaders recalled most of their regulars for the Oval contest with Davy Magowan, Timmy Adamson and Diarmuid O'Carroll the only players to retain their starting role from Tuesday's 3-2 League Cup win over Coleraine.

Eddie Patterson's Glentoran selection saw Kane, Jordan Stewart and Jim O'Hanlon all returning.

Owens missed a 10th-minute chance for the Crues as he failed to get full purchase on a point-blank effort but the home side looked the better outfit during the opening half hour.

After Owens's early miss, the Crues had two escapes as firstly Colin Coates was close to diverting a dangerous Scullion cross into his own net and from the resultant corner, Sean O'Neill then made a brilliant full-length save to stop a low Kane shot.

Crusaders prove too strong for Glentoran

At that stage, the Crues were struggling for fluency but suddenly they were in front on 32 minutes as the Glentoran defence failed to deal with a long punt over the top and Owens prodded to the net after his initial effort had been blocked by Morris.

As the Crues visibly grew in confidence, Owens glanced a glorious chance wide and Paul Heatley then volleyed another shot inches wide with Richard Clarke the provider on both occasions.

At that stage, Eddie Patterson would have been hoping to get his side back into the dressing-room without any further damage being inflicted.

However, it was not to be as another long ball unhinged the Glens defence and left Morris in a race for the ball with O'Carroll which resulted in the keeper clearly upending the Crues striker.

After referee Tim Marshall had booked Morris, O'Carroll calmly stroked the penalty into the left corner of the net in the final act of the first half.

Glentoran never really looked like mounting a comeback in the second period.

After Morris had done well to tip away a goal-bound Heatley effort, Glentoran did have a chance at the other end but Kane blasted over.

As had been the case in the opening half hour, Glentoran began to produce some pretty passing but there was no real end product.

The game was effectively put to bed on 69 minutes as substitute McCutcheon fired home after Morris had saved another Heatley effort.

Kane did pull a goal back for the Glens six minutes later but the Crues held on with the minimum of fuss.