Irish Premiership: Bannsiders win as title rivals Glentoran and Cliftonville slip up
Coleraine beat Institute 4-0 to go seven points behind leaders Linfield while fellow title contenders Glentoran and Cliftonville slipped up.
The Bannsiders won at the Brandywell before Navid Nasseri bagged a double for the Glens at Glenavon but his late penalty was saved to leave it 2-2.
Joe Gormley levelled for Cliftonville in a 1-1 draw with Ballymena and the Reds are 12 points off the pace.
Larne edged Warrenpoint 1-0 while Dungannon won 2-1 at Carrick Rangers.
Dungannon boosted their hopes of avoiding a relegation scrap after a dogged victory over 10-man Carrick at Taylor's Avenue.
Carrick's Alex Gawne had an effort ruled out for offside on 13 minutes before Douglas Wilson headed the visitors into the lead three minutes later from Caolan McAleer's corner.
Lloyd Anderson should have levelled proceedings but he failed to divert Reece Neale's corner past the returning Sam Johnston from six yards as the Swifts held onto their lead at the interval.
Carrick were reduced to 10 men on 46 minutes when Chris Rodgers, who had earlier been booked for halting a Dungannon counter attack, was given his marching orders by Raymond Crangle after clattering into the back of Rhyss Campbell.
The Swifts made the most of their man advantage when Campbell netted from close range on 56 minutes after some good work by Daniel Hughes, and Kris Lindsay's men held on for all three points despite Caolan Loughran's penalty with 17 minutes to play after Dylan King was penalised for handball.
Substitute Andrew Mitchell scored his first goal for Larne since his January transfer from Linfield to ensure his side made it nine wins from their last 10 league games.
Mitchell fired his 85th-minute penalty high into the corner of the net past Warrenpoint's debutant goalkeeper Gabriel Sava after Martin Donnelly had been brought down inside the area by Matthew Lynch.
Larne were deserved winners, having created the best chances of the game and dominated possession, and this victory takes them to within two points of fourth-placed Crusaders and Cliftonville, in fifth, above them.
Warrenpoint remain two points ahead of Institute at the foot of the table.
Cliftonville lost further ground on the title-chasing teams as they were held to a draw at Solitude by a Sky Blues team which ended a run of seven straight league defeats.
Ballymena went in front on the half hour after Reds skipper Chris Curran lost his footing - and possession - deep inside his own half and Adam Lecky released the overlapping Leroy Millar, who drilled a shot through the legs of home keeper Richard Brush.
Cliftonville equalised midway through the second half when Gormley connected with Chris Curran's cross from the right and his instinctive volley came off the inside of Ross Glendinning's post before trundling into the opposite corner.
Colin Coates made an impressive debut as Glenavon held title-chasing Glentoran at Mourneview Park.
The Glens took the lead in the 17th minute when Nasseri ran on to a lovely cushioned header by Ruaidhri Donnelly to deliver a clinical low finish past Jonny Tuffey.
Donnelly hit the post with a clever flick before Daniel Purkis got on the end of a Josh Daniels cross to head home an equaliser for the hosts to make it 1-1 at the break.
Nasseri got his second of the game on 59 minutes when he started a superb counter-attack from deep in his own half which ended with him going round Tuffey to finish well.
Glenavon's equaliser was a bizarre goal as a deep Aaron Harmon cross was caught in the wind and somehow deceived keeper Marijan Antolovic to end up in the top corner.
Nasseri then missed an opportunity to complete his hat-trick and win it for the visitors when his penalty, after a Harmon handball, was well saved by Tuffey.
Coleraine cruised to victory over basement side Institute with Aaron Canning heading the Bannsiders into a 28th-minute lead when he was allowed to meet Jamie Glackin's free-kick unchallenged.
The defender doubled his and his side's tally in superb fashion with a wonderfully controlled half-volley from Josh Carson's corner on the stroke of half-time.
Institute battled back to earn a point away to Warrenpoint Town last time out but there was to be no comeback against Coleraine, who controlled the match from start to finish and made it 3-0 thanks to captain Stephen O'Donnell's header after 57 minutes.
Carson capped a commanding performance when he converted Stewart Nixon's cross at the far post in added time as Oran Kearney's side backed up last week's League Cup triumph with an important three points.
|Danske Bank Premiership - Saturday, 22 February|
|Carrick Rangers||1-2||Dungannon Swifts|
|Bluefin Sport Championship|