Irish Premiership: Crusaders and Linfield secure victories

Champions Crusaders secure vital victory

Premiership leaders Crusaders edged out Glenavon 1-0 at Moureview Park while Linfield kept the title race alive with a 3-0 win over Coleraine.

Crues striker Jordan Owens scored the only goal to leave the champions just one win away from retaining the title.

Linfield are eight points back with three games left after Kirk Millar's double and a Jimmy Callacher goal in a comfortable Windsor Park victory.

The other Section A game saw Glentoran defeat Cliftonville 2-0 at Solitude.

Marcus Kane fired into the bottom corner to put the Glens ahead on 51 minutes before Curtis Allen added the second with a tap-in.

Curtis Allen on target as Glens beat Cliftonville

Crues closing in

Crusaders showed the resilience of champions but they were thankful for poor finishing by Lurgan Blues striker Eoin Bradley.

Bradley twice fired straight at keeper Sean O'Neill in the first half before hesitancy in taking a shot allowed Craig McClean to make a last-ditch challenge.

Crusaders improved after a lacklustre first half and Owens settled the game with a trademark header from Gavin Whyte's cross on 55 minutes.

Owens almost doubled the lead when he hit the post while Kevin Braniff and Declan O'Brien went close as the hosts pressed late on.

A delighted Jordan Owens runs away in celebration after scoring against Glenavon
A delighted Jordan Owens runs away in celebration after scoring against Glenavon

Victory over north Belfast rivals Cliftonville Tuesday night will give Stephen Baxter's side back-to-back titles for the first time in the club's history.

Crusaders keeper Sean O'Neill said: "I made a couple of saves but I've a great back four in front of me and I'll take a 1-0 win every week.

"The title is now within touching distance and we are preparing for a momentous battle against Cliftonville on Tuesday.

"We are a small club and to retain the title would be massive for us and brilliant for the people of the Shore Road."

Linfield victory keeps slim title hopes alive

Blues cruise at Windsor

Linfield boss David Healy rested key players ahead of the Irish Cup final but the Blues still had enough to despatch the Bannsiders with ease.

All the goals came in the first half, starting with Millar heading home from a Paul Smyth cross.

Blues skipper Callacher headed in from a pinpoint Niall Quinn corner before Millar pounced on a Lyndon Kane error to slot in the third just before the break.

Millar missed out on a treble when he header over while Callacher struck the bar in the dying seconds.

Linfield visit Glentoran on Tuesday evening, chasing three points and hoping for a Crusaders slip-up in the north Belfast derby.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership - results
Ballinamallard Utd2-0Warrenpoint Town
Carrick Rangers0-2Ballymena Utd
Portadown1-2Dungannon Swifts

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