Crues 'keeper Sean O'Neill celebrates at the final whistle (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
Crusaders remain a point clear at the top of the table going into the last couple of the games of the campaign after they inflicted the first defeat of 2017 upon Coleraine at Seaview.
The Crues almost raced into the lead inside the opening minute when Jordan Forsythe headed narrowly wide from a Billy Joe Burns ball.
And Crusaders' bright start continued soon after when Paul Heatley flashed an effort over the bar. Then, just before the half-hour mark, Forsythe was denied by a superb Chris Johns as his volley looked destined for the bottom left corner.
The deadlock was broken moments later in stunning fashion when James McLaughlin got on the end of a Johns clearance before sending a curling effort beyond Sean O'Neill into the top right corner from some 30 yards.
Declan Caddell had the ball in the net for the Crues three minutes later only for it to be ruled out offside ... but just a couple of minutes after that they did equalise through Jordan Owens' back post tap-in after Heatley delivered the ball across the face of goal.
Then, five minutes from the break, Heatley edged Stephen Baxter's side into the lead with a left foot finish into the bottom right corner after his initial effort had been saved.
Heatley struck again on 68 minutes to extend Crusaders' lead with a drilled finish past Johns after the Bannsiders failed to clear their lines.
However, Oran Kearney's side pulled a goal back a couple of minutes after that through substitute Jamie McGonigle's low drive from the edge of the area into the bottom left corner.
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Carvill, Caddell, Forsythe, McClean, Owens, Keane, Heatley, Whyte subs Mitchell (not used), Cushley (not used), Dougherty (not used), Snoddy (replaced Carvill 84), Suarez (not used)
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Harkin, Ogilby, McCauley, McCafferty, McLaughlin, McConaghie, Parkhill, Allan subs Douglas (not used), Edgar (not used), McGonigle (replaced Parkhill 58), Doherty (not used), Whiteside (not used)
Referee: Keith Kennedy
|Billy Joe Burns|