CADDELL AND CLARKE ON TARGET AS CRUES ARE BACK ON TOP
Second half goals from Declan Caddell and Ross Clarke helped Crusaders claim the points from Ballymena United's visit to Seaview.
The Crues got off to bright start with early chances coming through Jordan Forsythe and Philip Lowry while, a little later, Jamie McGonigle tested keeper Ross Glendinning from 25 yards.
Ballymena's best effort of the scoreless first half came in the closing moments when Josh Kelly found himself in a good position after Forsythe had only partially cleared the ball but he could only drag his shot wide of the open goal.
Kelly had another chance for the visitors just after the hour but again failed to hit the target while Andy McGrory came close from just outside the area when he forced Gerard Doherty to tip the ball onto an upright. At the other end Lowry almost put the Crues in front but was blocked by a timely Kelly clearance.
However, the Crues did find a way through on 71 minutes. Forsythe was given time to deliver a cross into the area which Caddell headed across the face of goal beyond the reach of the diving Glendinning.
Then, with six minutes to go, Clarke made sure of the points for Stephen Baxter's side with a superbly delivered 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner past a motionless Glendinning.
Crusaders: Doherty, Burns, Lowry, McGonigle, Caddell, Forsythe, O'Rourke, Owens, Brown, Thompson, Heatley subs O'Neill (not used), Beverland (not used), Cushley (replaced McGonigle 89), Ruddy (not used), Clarke (replaced Heatley 64), McElroy (not used), Dummigan (not used)
Ballymena United: Ross Glendinning, T. Kane, Addis, Whiteside, Friel, McGrory, Lecky, Millar, Reece Glendinning, Aaron Burns, Kelly subs Williamson (not used), Knowles (not used), McCullough (not used), K. Kane (not used), Carville (not used), Winchester (not used), Lavery (not used)