Substitute Matthew Snoddy on Friday night eased the tension at Seaview by grabbing a second half double against basement side Ballinamallard United
Following Monday night’s spectacular win over Linfield on Monday night, Stephen Baxter’s boys huffed and puffed in front of their home fans, who couldn’t breathe easily until Snoddy was introduced midway through the second half.
Crusaders home record has been anything but impressive - their last victory on the Shore Road was on September 12, against the Blues.
And,it looked like it was going to be another night of frustration until that decisive double blast from Snoddy.
Although they dominated most of the 90 minutes, the Crues were wasteful in front of while United keeper Richard Brush was inspirational.
The the home roared from the blocks and should have been in front after only 18 seconds when Colin Coates sent Declan Caddell hurtling into the box, but his effort clipped the inside of the post.
The home fans at last had something to cheer when Burns’ cross was powered into the net by the head of Owens, but the big striker had strayed into an offside position.
Burns was having the time of his life on the right and, from another one of his crosses, Gavin Whyte’s header was cleared by Toss Taheny.
Then, just two minutes before the break Caddell’s persistence forced the United defence into an error and, when the ball fell to Whyte, his shot cannoned off the legs of Brush.
It took United 47 minutes to pose a threat at the other end when Gary Armstrong fired a 25 yard free kick over the crossbar after Stuart Hutchinson had been hauled down by Coates.
But the Crues at last relieved the tension by taking the lead on 65 minutes. Snoddy was only on the the pitch a mere 60 seconds when he flicked home a Forsythe cross at the near post.
And, he did it again on 90 minutes. This time Heatley sent the substitute clear on the right and his low shot balooned the net before Brush could even move.
CRUSADERS: Jensen, Burns, Coates, Beverland, McChrystal, Lowry (Snoddy 64), Caddell, Forsythe, Heatley, Whyte, Owens. Unused subs: Ward, Cavill, Cushley, Dougherty.
B’MALLARD: Brush, Smyth, Taheny, McLoughlin, Hutchinson (McIlwaine 75), Clarke, Leddy (Burns 52), McGinty (Brennan 77), Armstrong, McCartney, Curran.
Unused subs: McCann, Brownlee.
REFEREE: Tony Clarke.