Crusaders keep up pressure at top of Premiership table

IMPORTANT GOAL: Declan Caddell celebrates after giving Crusaders the lead
IMPORTANT GOAL: Declan Caddell celebrates after giving Crusaders the lead


Crusaders put the pressure back on Cliftonville at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership after picking up the points at Mourneview Park.

The hosts took the lead after 14 minutes after Guy Bates had been fouled in the Crusaders half by Josh Robinson. Mark Haughey was left in acers of space and headed home Gary Hamilton’s free kick.

The league’s second placed side pulled level just after the half-hour mark through Gary McCutcheon, turning in a long through by Gareth McKeown which had been flicked on by Jordan Owens.

Hamilton’s men were back in front again on 35 minutes after Bates worked hard to get to the byline before pulling a low ball across six-yard box for Ciaran Martyn to rifle home.

But again the Crues fought back and they were level again on 41 minutes thanks to a horror show from Andy Coleman. Firstly he flapped at a corner and punched at the cross back into the box which fell nicely for Paul Heatley on the edge of the area, who composed himself before finishing low under the Glenavon goalkeeper.

There were chances galore at the start of the second half for both teams with Crusaders having early opportunities for Heatley, who hit the post; Owens, who should have buried his chance six yards away from goal; and Matthew Snoddy, who scooped his half volley onto the bar.

At the other end Sean O’Neill did well to deny Hamilton after he had carried the ball through the middle of the park and playing a neat one-two with Martyn, and debutant Mark Farren, who tried to poke the ball through the keeper’s legs only for him to get enough on the shot to turn it away for a corner.

The decisive goal came on 65 minutes through Declan Caddell, who always seems to score in the fixtures between these two sides. He was left to head home a McKeown cross after Coleman failed to come for the cross.

There was a late surge by the the home side but they couldn’t score an equaliser, signalling a fourth straight league defeat for the Lurgan Blues, while the gap at the top of the league has been closed to three points with Cliftonville playing on Monday night.

GLENAVON: Coleman, McCallion, Haughey, Lindsay, Neill, Henderson, Martyn, Kilmartin, Hamilton, Bates, Farren. Subs: Brown (Lindsay 46), Hagan, Turkington, Bennett (Farren 90), Corrigan.

CRUSADERS: O’Neill, McKeown, McClean, Robinson, Coates, Caddell, McCutcheon, Snoddy, Owens, Watson, Heatley. Subs: Rainey (McCutcheon 82), Leeman, Mitchell, Morrow (Owens 77), Drummond.

Referee: David Malcolm.