IRISH LEAGUE: Crusaders maintain seven point cushion on summit

Gavin Whyte  scores during today's game at the Oval in Belfast.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Gavin Whyte scores during today's game at the Oval in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
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Glentoran 0, Crusaders 3

A quickfire first half double from Declan Caddell and Gavin Whyte at the Oval ensured Crusaders kept their seven points lead at the top of the Danske Premiership table.

Paul Heatley hit a third in the second half to put the icing on the cake for Stephen Baxter’s boys.

Glentoran had Nacho Novo sent off just before the break by referee Evan Boyce for an alleged head butt Caddell, which added to the home team’s agony.

Glentoran boss Gary Haveron made one alteration form the team that lost to Linfield in the Irish Cup last week. With skipper Stephen McAlorum suspended, Marcus Kane returned from long term injury.

Stephen Baxter also had to make one switch to his side -- they defeated Ards in their last outing -- with new signing from Dundalk Alan Keane brought in for his debut in place of the suspended Michael Gault.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  14/01/2017
Glentoran v Crusaders  Danske Bank Premiership
Glentoran's Nacho Novo  is sent off  during todays game at the Oval in Belfast.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 14/01/2017 Glentoran v Crusaders Danske Bank Premiership Glentoran's Nacho Novo is sent off during todays game at the Oval in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Caddell headed the visitors ahead on 16 minutes with a bullet header following a brilliant cross from Jordan Forsythe.

And, the visiting fans were still celebrating when Whyte struck again seconds later.

The flying winger picked up a peach of a pass from Paul Heatley and, after leaving the Glens’ backline in his wake, he drilled the ball under the body of Elliott Morris.

When Novo was dismissed, it was all uphill for Haveron’s side,

Surprisingly, it took the Crues 18 minutes from time to finish the job. Heatley couldn’t believe his luck when he was left with time and space inside the box and, when confronted by Morris, the little striker cheekily clipped the ball home at the near post.

Glentoran: Morris, Kane (Smith 85), Magee, Caldwell (Gordon 71), Allen, Novo, Lavery (O’Flynn 71), Harmon, Addis, Redman, Ferrin; Unused subs: Nelson, McAuley.

Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Beverland (Lowry 89), Carvill, Caddell, Forsythe, McClean , Owens, Keane, Heatley (Cushley 76), Whyte (Clarke 86); Unused subs: Dougherty, Suarez.

Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan).