Irish Premiership: Crusaders and Coleraine level at top

Andrew Mitchell's equaliser for Glenavon cost Crusaders two vital points
Andrew Mitchell's equaliser for Glenavon cost Crusaders two vital points

Crusaders were held to a draw and Coleraine snatched an exciting win to leave the title rivals level on points at the top of the Irish Premiership.

At one stage it looked like the Crues might open a five-point gap as they led against Glenavon while Coleraine were losing at home to Cliftonville.

But Glenavon hit back to force a 1-1 draw against the leaders at Seaview.

Meanwhile, a Stephen Dooley shot and an 89th-minute Jamie McGonigle penalty gave second-placed Coleraine a 2-1 win.

With three matches left, the Crues still lead the table as they have a much better goal difference.

Relive the drama of an exciting day of Irish Premiership action

At the bottom, Ballinamallard have given themselves a chance of avoiding the one automatic relegation place by beating Warrenpoint Town.

It was just their third win of the campaign and leaves them just two points behind one-from-bottom Carrick Rangers.

Crusaders will be reflecting on a second home draw in five matches and the loss of their points advantage at the top.

Coleraine celebrated a vital victory over Cliftonville
Coleraine celebrated a vital victory over Cliftonville

They went in front at home to Glenavon when Jamie Glackin set Paul Heatley up for a 28th-minute goal.

Stephen Baxter's men had chances to extend their lead but were then hit by a Glenavon equaliser when Andrew Mitchell pounced from just a couple of yards out 15 minutes from time.

"We are slightly disappointed with our performance," said Crues winger Heatley.

"We dominated the game but one lapse cost us.

"We had seven, eight, maybe nine chances and could have won easily but sometimes you don't get the rub of the green and credit to Glenavon for sticking at it.

"But the important thing is that we remain top with only three games to go."

Coleraine were trailing 1-0 at home to Cliftonville after Jay Donnelly's goal for the Belfast side.

Linfield's win over Ballymena takes them up to third in the Premiership table
Linfield's win over Ballymena takes them up to third in the Premiership table

But the Bannsiders equalised through a low Dooley shot and then snatched victory with McGonigle's spot-kick.

"I told the players at half-time that, if it wasn't going to happen for us, then at least make sure we go out on our knees," said Coleraine manager Oran Kearney.

"They gave it everything and credit to Jamie McGonigle for having the confidence to take the winning penalty.

"There is serious belief in that changing room, but we won't be getting ahead of ourselves."

Mark Stafford and Kurtis Byrne got the goals as Linfield won 2-0 at home to Ballymena United to move up to third.

Glentoran look likely to finish seventh and qualify for the play-offs for a place in the Europa League after winning 4-1 away to Ards.

The hosts took the lead through former Glens man Kyle Cherry but then conceded two penalties which were converted by Dylan Davidson, with Jonny Addis and Curtis Allen scoring further goals for Ronnie McFall's team.

Stephen O'Flynn and Ryan Curran scored the goals which gave Ballinamallard their 2-0 win over Warrenpoint while Seanan Clucas and Cormac Burke were on target for Dungannon against Carrick.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership - Saturday 7 April
Section A
Coleraine2-1Cliftonville
Crusaders1-1Glenavon
Linfield 2-0Ballymena Utd
Section B
Ards1-4Glentoran
Ballinamallard Utd2-0Warrenpoint Town
Dungannon Swifts2-0Carrick Rangers
Bluefin Sport Championship
Ballyclare Comrades 2-4Institute
H&W Welders 1-3Portadown
Knockbreda7-0Lurgan Celtic
Limavady United 0-0Dergview
Newry City 1-0Loughgall
PSNI 2-2Larne
Intermediate League
Banbridge Town 1-1Moyola Park
Portstewart 0-1Lisburn Distillery
Sport & Leisure1-3Armagh City
Tobermore United2-0Queen's University

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