Irish Premiership: Leaders Crusaders and Coleraine both win

Gavin Whyte congratulates Crusaders goalscorer Billy Joe Burns
Gavin Whyte congratulates Crusaders goalscorer Billy Joe Burns

Crusaders remain one point clear of Coleraine at the top of the Irish Premiership after hammering Carrick Rangers 6-0 at Seaview on Saturday.

The victory extends the Crues' unbeaten run to 23 matches in all competitions, including 21 wins and two draws.

Coleraine ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Glentoran at the Oval.

Ballymena United drew 2-2 with 10-man Linfield at the Showgrounds while Dungannon Swifts saw off Ards 1-0 at Stangmore Park.

All Saturday's action in the Irish Premiership as it unfolded

Having enjoyed a 7-1 home triumph over Carrick in November, Crusaders were three goals to the good by half-time as Jamie Glackin, Mark McChrystal and Billy Joe Burns all found the net in the first 45 minutes.

Paul Heatley, who scored with the aid of a deflection off Mark Surgenor, Matthew Snoddy and Jordan Forsythe were on target in the second half to take the north Belfast club's tally of goals this campaign to 75 in 26 matches.

Stephen Baxter's side have not tasted defeat in their last 16 Premiership outings, while Carrick have gone the same number of games without a win in all competitions.

The Taylor's Avenue men are just one point ahead of Ballinamallard United at the foot of the table following the Fermanagh team's second top-flight win of the season against Cliftonville on Friday night.

Coleraine goalscorer Eoin Bradley in action with Glentoran's Johnny Addis
Coleraine goalscorer Eoin Bradley in action with Glentoran's Johnny Addis

It took Coleraine just 25 seconds to take the lead against Glentoran through Eoin Bradley, Ciaron Harkin adding the second from the penalty spot six minutes from time at a windswept Oval.

Coleraine could go top if they beat Linfield in Tuesday night's rearranged fixture at Ballycastle Road.

The conditions also played a significant role at the Showgrounds where Mark Stafford put Linfield in front after 11 minutes against Ballymena.

Johnny McMurray's deflected shot restored parity 15 minutes later, both players netting their fifth goals of the season.

Andrew Waterworth made it 2-1 to the visitors three minutes before the break but Mark Haughey was sent-off for a second yellow card on 65 minutes, before substitute Joe McKinney equalised with a well-struck low right-foot shot into the bottom corner.

Mark Stafford
Mark Stafford scored Linfield's opening goal in the first half

Kevin Braniff wasted a gilt-edged opportunity to secure all three points for the Braidmen when he skied his spot-kick well over the bar after McMurray was adjudged to have been fouled in the area by Stafford.

Paul McElroy proved the matchwinner for Dungannon with a second-half strike which saw the Swifts improve on their recent record of having failed to score in seven of their last eight league encounters.

Guillaume Keke squandered Ards' best chance to salvage a point when his penalty was saved by Dungannon goalkeeper Stuart Addis.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership results - Saturday 27 January
Ballymena Utd2-2Linfield
Crusaders6-0Carrick Rangers
Dungannon Swifts1-0Ards
Glentoran0-2Coleraine
Bluefin Sport Championship - Saturday 27 January
Dergview0-1Limavady Utd
H&W Welders1-0Lurgan Celtic
Institute0-0Newry City
Loughgall2-1PSNI
Ballyclare Comrades2-3Knockbreda

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