Crusaders 1, Coleraine 0
Crusaders stay top of the Danske Bank Premiership table after they saw-off Coleraine 1-0 at Seaview.
Stephen Baxter’s side will now face Glenavon on Tuesday night and the Crues boss will be hoping for a better performance from his side.
Jordan Owens was once again the Crues’ saviour as his header just before half-time secured the points for the home side.
But Coleraine boss Oran Kearney can take lots of positives from his side’s performance and if Lyndon Kane had scored his penalty at the death his side could have had a share of the spoils.
The visitors had the first chance of the game in the sixth minute but Rodney Brown’s deflected free-kick was pushed wide by Crusaders keeper Sean O’Neill.
Coleraine had another chance in the 14th minute after a good build-up from the Bannsiders but Jamie McGonigle’s effort was saved by O’Neill. Kearney’s side had started well while the Crues looked sluggish in the opening exchanges.
In the 40th minute David Kee tried his luck from the edge of the box but his shot flew wide.
Coleraine kept pushing for the opener but it was Crusaders who took the lead in the 44th minute as Paul Heatley threw in a cross and Owens headed home at the back post.
Crusaders had the ball in the net again just before half-time but Owens was judged to be offside.
Both sides came out in the second half looking to make an impression early on and Coleraine had a good chance in the 52nd minute but Brad Lyons took too long pulling the trigger and the shot was blocked.
The Bannsiders had another chance in the 58 minutes but Rodney Brown’s shot was off target.
Jordan Allen then had a chance for Coleraine in the 60th minute but keeper O’Neill came to the Crues rescue.
Heatley had a chance for the home side in the 63rd minute but his shot from a Carvill cross flew over the bar.
In the 72nd minute Crusaders had another chance. Carvill sprinted down the left, pushed the ball across goal but Declan Caddell’s effort was off target.
Heatley then found Owens in the 77th minute but the big striker failed to extend his side’s advantage.
Coleraine had a chance nine minutes from the end but McGonigle’s tame shot was saved by O’Neill - but they were pushing for an equaliser.
Coleraine’s Stephen Douglas then tried his luck from long range but his effort missed the target.
The Bannsiders should have made it 1-1 in the 87th minute. McGonigle’s effort from close range looked destined for the back of the net until O’Neill made a brilliant stop.
Then, in the 89 minute, Coleraine were awarded a penalty. Lyndon Kane stepped up but his spot-kick was well saved by O’Neill.
Shortly afterwards Kane was cut down by Heatley who received a yellow card - when he could have seen red. It was a terrible challenge from the Crues winger.
From the resulting free-kick Caddell was sent-off for a second yellow after charging down the shot from Brown.
Right at the death O’Neill produced another wonder save to deny Jordan Allan as the Bannsiders pushed hard for an equaliser that never arrived
Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Coates, Beverland, Gault, Mitchell, Carvill, Caddell, Heatley, Clarke, Owens.
Subs: Dougherty, McClean, Jallow, Soares, Cushley.
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Douglas, McAuley, Brown, Kee, McConaghie, Lyons, Parkhill, McGonigle, Allan.
Subs: Mullan, Higgins, Ogilby, McCafferty, Law.
Ref: R Crangle.