IRISH LEAGUE: Leaders Crusaders edge win over Ballinamallard

Crusaders' Jordan Forsythe celebrates with Richard Clarke after his goal was enough to win it for the Crues.

Crusaders' Jordan Forsythe celebrates with Richard Clarke after his goal was enough to win it for the Crues.

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BALLINAMALLARD 0 CRUSADERS 1

Champions Crusaders were made to work for their three points with this 1-0 win over Ballinamallard United.

It took a goal on 27 minutes by Paul Heatley to break the deadlock after he cut in from the left flank, brushed past two defenders before striking a low shot just inside the near post past debut keeper Cameron Crawford.

But the goal came against the run of play with Ballinamallard unfortunate not to be two goals ahead at that stage.

Two glorious chances fell to Johnny Lafferty in the opening 15 minutes, but the first saw him take too many touches and his shot was blocked and the second saw his rasping effort from just inside the box crash back off the crossbar.

The Ferney Park team were the better side in the first half and the champions only began to play in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

The second half saw the Crues look more comfortable with Cushley’s powerful free kick coming back off the crossbar.

Ballinamallard changed to a 4-4-2 formation for the final 10 minutes and really went looking for the equaliser, but despite the pressure couldn’t find the net.

Ballinamallard United: Crawford, McMenamin, Taheny (McElwaine 83), Feeney (Owens 75), McGinty, McKenna, Lafferty, McCartney, McConnell, Lecky, Mayse

Subs: McGrath, McIlwaine, Owens, Frempong, Elliott

Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Beverland, Gault, Cushley (Clarke 80), Caddell, Forsythe, McClean, Heatley (Carveille63), Whyte, Owens

Subs: Dougherty, Soares, Carveill, Mitchell, Clarke

Referee

Mervyn Smyth