Tuffey stars but Crues take the points

Glenavon fell to a first half Paul Heatley goal in a thrilling encounter at Crusaders on Saturday.

The fact the Crues only won 1-0 was down to Jonny Tuffey who for the second week in a row produced a series of superb saves.

Crusaders Billy Joe Burns in action with Glenavon's Mark Patton.

Crusaders Billy Joe Burns in action with Glenavon's Mark Patton.

He kept Glenavon in with a shout but in the end the champions secured all three points.

The last thing Glenavon wanted to do was give the Crues an early lead but that is what happened on three minutes as Paul Heatley got goalside and had time to drill a right foot shot past the exposed Jonny Tuffey.

Heatley again threatened to double the lead a few minutes later but Simon Kelly conceded a free kick with a block tackle.

Glenavon tried to respond as Andy Hall’s cross from the right wing clipped the top of the bar and then on 13 minutes Mark Sykes rolled the ball into the path of Gareth McKeown but his shot flew well wide.

Glenavon survived an anxious moment on 19 minutes when a cross by O’Carroll was clipped towards goal by Michael Carvill, the ball seemed to roll along the line and past the far post, it was played in by Heatley but Marshall cleared the danger.

Tuffey made a smart save on 31 minutes to gather a shot from the busy Heatley and five minutes before the break he produced an even better one as he got down to keep out Heatley’s volley.

The Crues still looked the better side on the restart but slowly Glenavon began to get into the game with Bradley getting on the end of a couple of half chances. He was out of luck on 69 minutes when he broke and as keeper O’Neill dashed out his shot flew inches wide.

Tuffey was called upon again to deny Carvill and with 15 minutes to go it was end to end.

The Tuffy show continued with a double save as he denied both Owens and Heatley on 84 minutes.

The Crues were the better team and deserved their win, but credit to Glenavon who worked hard to put some pressure on the home side in the second half and with a little luck might have found an equaliser.

Glenavon: Tuffey, McKeown, Neill, Kelly, Kilmartin, Marshall, Bradley, Hall, Patton, Sykes, Braniff.

Subs: Cooper, McGrory, Buckley, O’Brien, Kearns.