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Premiership

DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP WEEKEND ROUND-UP

04 Apr 2021
football
© Matt Mackey/PressEye Glentoran's Rory Donnelly celebrates scoring against Portadown
Clean sheets were the order of the day as no fewer than seven Danske Bank Premiership goalkeepers were unbeaten in a weekend of action that produced victories for Linfield, Glentoran, Larne, Cliftonville and Crusaders.
 
Leaders Linfield moved nine points clear at the top following a Saturday evening victory over Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.
 
Jordan Stewart opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute but any expected goal avalanche didn't materialise as the Swifts produced a much improved defensive performance compared to recent weeks. Indeed, it took a Shayne Lavery finish just as the game ticked over into stoppage time to double Linfield's advantage.
 
Coleraine, in second place, dropped a couple of points in a scoreless draw at home Glenavon. The Bannsiders hit the woodwork twice while the visitors saw one effort stopped at the base of an upright and another cleared off the line.
 
There were no such scoring problems for Glentoran in their four goal Oval victory over Portadown.
 
Rory Donnelly opened the scoring on 35 minutes (adding a second eight minutes from time), with other strikes coming from Robbie McDaid and Andrew Mitchell as Mick McDermott's side closed the gap on second spot.
 
Cliftonville's Michael McCrudden was the weekend's top scorer. He claimed the match ball with a hat-trick as the Reds swept to a comfortable 5-0 defeat of Warrenpoint Town at Milltown.
 
McCrudden kicked the scoring off on eight minutes with Ryan Curran following up with a spot-kick before a quarter-of-an-hour had elapsed. McCrudden struck again in first half stoppage time, and again just after the hour, before Daire O'Connor wrapped things up midway through the second half.
 
Lee Lynch might have bagged a hat-trick too in Larne's 3-0 win over Carrick Rangers at Inver Park. He found the net on 14 minutes in the East Antrim derby, and scored his second on 37 minutes just a couple of minutes Andy Mitchell had doubled Larne's lead from the spot.
 
Then, late in the game, Larne were awarded another penalty. Chasing his hat-trick, Lynch stepped up and duly found the net only for it be ruled out for a double hit after referee Raymond Crangle had spotted that Lynch had slipped and struck the ball twice before it reached the net.
 
Meanwhile, on Friday night, Crusaders began the weekend with a narrow victory over Ballymena United at The Showgrounds, the only goal of the game coming with 15 minutes remaining through Aidan Wilson's near post finish.