Second-placed Crusaders narrowed the gap on Premiership leaders Linfield to just one point by winning Thursday's top two clash at Seaview.
The Crues took a 10th-minute lead when Jordan Owens was left free to shoot in from just a few yards out after Richard Clarke's free in from the left wing.
Winger Paul Heatley made it 2-0 at the start of the second half by hooking in a volley on the six-yard line.
Linfield set up a thrilling finale when Andrew Waterworth scored on the hour.
The Blues striker cut in from the left and his shot was deflected past home keeper Sean O'Neill.
Timmy Adamson of Crusaders then sent a looping header just wide while Linfield defender Niall Quinn went close with a direct free-kick.
Crusaders felt they might have had a penalty for a foul on Heatley but referee Colin Burns did not agree.
Heatley then went close with an skilful overhead kick which Blues keeper Ross Glendinning clawed away just in time.
Sammy Morrow had the best chance of an equaliser for Linfield but home keeper O'Neill managed to deflect the ball wide.
|It was Linfield's first defeat in 11 away league matches after a run of seven wins and three draws||Paul Heatley has scored in all three Premiership games against Linfield this season|
|Crusaders have lost just one of their last 12 Premiership matches against Linfield||Andrew Waterworth has scored in 12 of Linfield's last 16 matches in all competitions|
Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter: "It is an important win because we did not want to let Linfield get too far ahead. Seven points would have been a big gap.
"I thought we played well. We dominated the first half and then had to cope with a Linfield comeback in the second.
"From our point of view, we have a bit of momentum now."
Linfield boss Warren Feeney: "We are disappointed with the goals we gave away.
"It was a good game of football between two honest teams who are at the top of the Premiership.
"We are still top and have to get our heads up. It is how you bounce back that matters."