Irish Premiership: Crusaders and Glenavon share spoils in 1-1 draw at Seaview

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Daniels volley earns Glenavon a point against Crusaders

Josh Daniels' 78th-minute volley ensured a well-earned point for Glenavon against Crusaders at Seaview.

Earlier David Cushley had put the hosts ahead in the final minutes of a cagey opening half.

Glenavon dominated the second half and twice went close through Andrew Mitchell before Daniels' thunderous strike drew them level.

The sides remain separated by six points although the Lurgan Blues have a game in hand.

The draw leaves third-placed Crusaders eight points behind league leaders Linfield, who play on Saturday.

Cushley's purple patch continues

After finding himself coming off the bench for the majority of last season Cushley has become one of Stephen Baxter's most reliable performers in what has been an inconsistent campaign for the Shore Road side.

Working in the middle of a new look front three and flanked by January signings Reece McGinley and Ronan Hale, the forward led a lively Crusaders attack well in the opening half.

Hale twice stung the palms of Jonny Tuffey while brother Rory flashed a low drive narrowly wide of the post off a well-worked corner.

Conor McCloskey went close at the other end before Cushley put the hosts in front with a trademark long-range strike, although Tuffey will have been disappointed to be beaten by the low effort.

Hamilton's team talk does the trick

Player-manager Gary Hamilton was marking his 350th game in charge of Glenavon, with his team's second-half showing a much more befitting performance with which to mark the occasion.

From the moment the second period stated the Lurgan Blues were on the front foot and Sean O'Neill was alert to stop Mitchell stealing in at the back post.

The Crusaders keeper was on hand again to keep out Rhys Marshall at the near post before Mitchell crashed an effort off the bar.

By contrast the hosts appeared to lose their rhythm during the break and struggled to keep the ball in the Glenavon half for any length of time.

Cushley once again troubled Tuffey with a powerful effort but this time the goalkeeper did well to turn the effort over the bar.

Former Derry City man Daniels finally made the breakthrough late in the half with a sweetly struck volley from Eoin Wearen's excellent cross.

It was the visitors who continued to push for a winner in the final stages, but Glenavon had to settle for a point which suits them more than it does Crusaders.

Irish Cup now our priority - Coates

Crusaders captain Colin Coates

"It is going to take a massive collapse from the teams above us for us to have any chance (of winning the league title).

"Realistically the Irish Cup is our biggest priority now.

"We have Ballymena here next week in the quarter-final and that is probably make or break for our season."

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