BALLYMENA 1 CRUSADERS 0
Crusaders’ 24-match run came to an end as they lost to Ballymena United at the Showgrounds.
David Cushley scored his fourth goal against Crusaders in a week as United avenged their League Cup semi-final defeat in midweek.
United’s first half efforts were rewarded with the opening goal a minute before half-time.
Referee Mervyn Smyth deserves credit for playing a good advantage after Ally Teggart was fouled in the build-up and when the winger laid the ball off to Gary Thompson’s path, his cross-shot was delicately flicked past O’Neill by Cushley from just outside the six-yard box.
But despite late pressure from Crusaders - who had a Sean Cleary effort ruled out for offside - they were unable to prevent their long unbeaten run from coming to an end.
Ballymena United: Nelson, Kane, Munster, Taylor, Stewart, Surgenor (sub Davidson 85), Thompson (sub Lowry 68), Taggart, Cushley (sub Dolan 90+1), Jenkins, Teggart. Subs (not used): Liggett, Ruddy.
Crusaders: O’Neill, Magowan, Leeman, Coates, McClean, E McAllister (sub D McAllister 65), Morrow, Caddell, McMaster (sub Snoddy 80), McCutcheon (sub Cleary 85), Owens. Subs (not used): Hanley, Wray.
Referee: Mervyn Smyth (Holywood).