POTADOWN 0 CRUSADERS 1
Crusaders snatched a dramatic late victory at Shamrock Park to remain eight points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.
Josh Robinson’s deflected header in the 90th minute sealed a massive 1-0 win for the champions.
It was cruel luck for the Ports – who slumped to their fifth league defeat on the bounce – with Robinson’s header appearing to come off Gary Twigg and into the net.
The champions had chances to forge ahead in the opening half but the game reached the break without a goal.
Portadown goalkeeper Billy Brennan almost giftwrapped the visitors a goal in the seventh minute when he fumbled Billy Joe Burns’ deep cross onto the crossbar.
Paul Heatley had a shot deflected wide in the 14th minute, while four minutes later Colin Coates stooped to head Jordan Forsythe’s cross just wide of the target.
Forsythe forced a decent save from Brennan in the 23rd minute with a rasping free-kick from 25 yards.
The champions continued to press, and in the 36th minute Jordan Owens fluffed his lines from 12 yards when he side-footed a shot wide of the post.
The Crues started the second half brightly and Brennan did well to get a punch on Michael Carvill’s cross when under pressure from Owens.
Carvill then picked out Owens with another cross in the 57th minute but Crusaders’ record goalscorer couldn’t get a strong head to the ball.
At the other end Mark McAllister also got a sight of goal but Robinson did well with a saving tackle.
Carvill then sent a dipping effort from the edge of the box just over Brennan’s crossbar.
In the 88th minute Chris Casement’s free-kick almost reached Marcio Soares, but the ball bobbled wide.
The winning goal arrived in the 90th from Craig McClean’s inswinging corner, and Robinson rose highest to head home courtesy of Twigg’s deflection.
Twigg almost made amends in injury time but his looping header was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Crues goalkeeper Sean O’Neill.
PORTADOWN: Brennan, Casement, Redman, O’Hara, Mackle, McAllister (Soares 66), Lowry, Gault, Twigg, Garrett, Oman.
Subs not used: Mouncey, Parker, Judge, Carson.
CRUSADERS: O’Neill, Burns, Coates, Robinson, McClean, Caddell, Snoddy, Carvill, Forsythe (Whyte 76), Owens, Heatley (O’Carroll 84).
Subs not used: Magowan, Clarke, Mitchell.
Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)