Irish Premiership: Crusaders 6-0 Portadown

Crusaders striker Jordan Owens scored a hat-trick

Crusaders extended their Premiership lead to seven points as Jordan Owens's hat-trick helped them humiliate fading challengers Portadown at Seaview.

Owens fired the Crues ahead on 11 and struck his second within three minutes.

Paul Heatley glanced in the third Crues goal on 17 and Portadown had striker Darren Murray sent off five minutes later for an apparent head-butt.

Owens completed his hat-trick on 59 and Diarmuid O'Carroll's penalty and Paul Heatley's goal completed the rout.

Portadown went into the game knowing that they could not afford to lose to stay in touch in the title race but Ronnie McFall's side were totally outclassed by a superb Crusaders outfit.

The Ports had a scare in the ninth minute when Heatley pulled a shot across the face of goal but the opening goal did come two minutes later when Owens fired home from eight yards after Gary Breen had totally misjudged a floated cross from Billy Joe Burns.

Owens hammered in his second goal within three minutes as he ghosted away from his marker Chris Ramsey after Colin Coates had nodded back a Richard Clarke free-kick.

Heatley glanced in the third Crusaders goal within three more minutes and things then went from bad to worse for the Ports as Murray received a straight red card after he appeared to aim a head-butt at Josh Robinson.

Tempers had flared following the third goal and Crusaders goalkeeper Sean O'Neill appeared to claim that he had been spat at by one of the opposition's players.

Former Derry City player Barry Molloy and Richard Clarke produced outstanding first-half displays for the leaders and the Crues continued to dominate in the second period.

Owens completed his hat-trick on 59 minutes as he was left totally unmarked to nod in a Heatley cross.

O'Carroll delivered the fifth goal in emphatic fashion from a penalty in the 85th minute after he himself had been fouled by Ross Redman and Heatley ran clear to fire in the sixth three minutes from time.

The visitors failed to create a decent chance during the entire 90 minutes while the Crues missed several other chances with Ports keeper David Miskelly also making a couple of fine saves.

Portadown's defeat leaves them seven adrift of the Crues although Linfield - also seven behind - have two games in hand on the leaders.