CRUSADERS 2 LINFIELD 2
Super-sub David Rainey pounced one minute from time as 10-man Crusaders salvaged a spirited draw against champions Linfield.
Rainey poked home Timmy Adamson’s knock down in the 89th minute to claim a vital point.
The Crues were reduced to 10 men in the second half after Jordan Owens was sent off for an elbowing offence on Albert Watson.
Linfield had taken the lead in the 19th minute when Billy Joe Burns dispatched a low shot through a melee of players after Crusaders failed to clear Michael Carvill’s corner.
Crusaders restored parity in first half injury time, with Gary McCutcheon finishing from just inside the box.
Linfield were ahead on 55 minutes after referee Ross Dunlop awarded a penalty under guidance from his assistant after Craig McClean tussled with Philip Lowry inside the box.
Brian McCaul stepped up to send Sean O’Neill the wrong way.
The Crues were reduced to 10 men when Owens was adjudged to have elbowed Linfield defender Watson off the ball - the referee’s other assistant this time making the call.
But with time ebbing away, Gareth McKeown sent in a free-kick that was headed down by Adamson for Rainey to hammer home.
CRUSADERS: O’Neill, McKeown, Magowan, Coates, Adamson, Robinson, Caddell, McCutcheon (Rainey 85), Owens, Heatley.
Subs not used: Leeman, Watson, Snoddy.
LINFIELD: Blayney, Armstrong, Murphy (Watson 73), Lowry (Fordyce 83), Thompson, Carvill, Burns, Mulgrew, McCaul, McAllister, Black.
Subs not used: Tipton, Garrett, Irvin.
Referee: Ross Dunlop