Irish Premiership: Crues go five clear as Coleraine slip up

Delight for Billy Joe Burns after he puts Crusaders 2-1 in front against Glentoran at Seaview
Delight for Billy Joe Burns after he puts Crusaders 2-1 in front against Glentoran at Seaview

Crusaders extended their lead at the Premiership summit to five points with victory over Glentoran while Coleraine were held to a draw by Glenavon.

Jordan Owens, Billy Joe Burns, Colin Coates and Gavin Whyte were on target for the Crues in a 4-2 win at Seaview.

Ciaron Harkin missed a Coleraine penalty and Andy Hall put Glenavon ahead before Eoin Bradley's leveller.

Relegation threatened Carrick beat Ards 4-0 while Linfield and Dungannon played out a Windsor Park stalemate.

Linfield's title defence had already fizzled out before falling another two points off the pace.

Jarlath O'Rourke hit the Blues bar and Linfield keeper Gareth Deane denied Daniel Hughes as the Swifts created the better first-half openings.

Linfield pressed for an opener after the break with Jimmy Callacher heading wide while Stuart Addis saved efforts from Kurtis Byrne and Achille Campion.

Linfield defender Mark Stafford climbs above Dungannon's Ryan Harpur at Windsor Park
Linfield defender Mark Stafford climbs above Dungannon's Ryan Harpur at Windsor Park

Carrick chalked up just a third league win of the season and they did it in style by thumping Ards in Bangor.

Jonathan Smith fired Rangers into an early lead and Paddy McNally volleyed home to double the lead after the break.

Lee Chapman netted from Damien McNulty's knock-down before Eamon Scannell headed in the fourth as Carrick moved four points clear of bottom side Ballinamallard.

Coleraine slipped up at a muddy Showgrounds after falling to make their dominance count against third-placed Glenavon.

The hosts wasted two good chances in the opening minutes with keeper Jonathan Tuffey winning out in one-on-ones with Bradley and Jamie McGonigle.

Tuffey came to Glenavon's rescue again on the stroke on half-time when he kept out Harkin's spot-kick, awarded for Caolan Marron's push on McGonigle.

Jonathan Tuffey's outstanding display for Glenavon included this save from Ciaron Harkin's penalty
Jonathan Tuffey's outstanding display for Glenavon included this save from Ciaron Harkin's penalty

Rhys Marshall headed goalwards from a Bobby Burns corner and Andy Hall got the final touch to put Glenavon in front on 53 minutes, but Coleraine were soon level as Bradley blasted home a 20-yard free-kick.

Bannsiders winger Darren McCauley hit the bar before Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton was dismissed after protesting against the decision.

Glenavon midfielder Mark Sykes was shown a straight red card after clashing with Bradley with three minutes left but the visitors held on to secure a point.

Crusaders had to come from behind to register another three points and they are firmly on course for a third title in four seasons.

Alex O'Hanlon's opener for the Glens was followed by intense Crusaders pressure and they were twice denied by the woodwork before Owens fired high into the net.

Whyte set up Burns for an easy second goal and a powerful Coates header made it 3-1 to Stephen Baxter's men.

Whyte hammered in the fourth and Robbie McDaid's lobbed finish was a late consolation for the beaten Glens.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership
Ards0-4Carrick Rangers
Coleraine1-1Glenavon
Crusaders4-2Glentoran
Linfield 0-0Dungannon Swifts
Bluefin Sport Championship
Larne8-0Knockbreda
Limavady Utd0-0PSNI
Loughgall1-2Portadown
Newry City2-1Ballyclare Comrades

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