20 Apr 2024
© Pacemaker Press

Crusaders clinched fourth spot – and with it home advantage in the European play-offs – while Carrick Rangers and Dungannon Swifts both won to ensure it goes down to the final game in the race for seventh place.

There were also victories on the penultimate Saturday of the season for Cliftonville and Ballymena United.

Stephen Baxter’s side defeated Coleraine by two goals at the Showgrounds, both coming in the first half.

Daniel Larmour opened the scoring on 21 minutes following a scramble in the box from a corner while, on the stroke of half-time, Jordan Forsythe doubled up from the spot after Adam Lecky had been brought down by Lyndon Kane.

Cliftonville got past Glentoran by the same scoreline at Solitude.

Stephen Mallon edged Jim Magilton’s side in front early on with a low, drilled finish – and that was how it stayed until around the hour mark when Ronan Hale sent Aaron McCarey the wrong way from the spot.

Carrick Rangers lead the way in Section B after defeating Loughgall by the odd goal in three at the Loughview Leisure Arena.

Cameron Stewart hit two goals in three minutes early in the first half to put Stuart King’s side firmly in control, with Ryan Waide pulling one back for the Villagers just after the half-hour mark.

But that was how it remained and leaves Rangers three points clear of Dungannon Swifts in the battle for that coveted place in the European play-offs.

The Swifts kept their hopes alive with a 2-0 defeat of Glenavon at Stangmore Park.

Tomas Galvin continued his recent scoring spree with the opener on 23 minutes, with Thomas Maguire bagging Dungannon’s second with a quarter-of-an-hour left on the clock.

Newry City’s relegation was confirmed following events elsewhere in the Championship whilst, on the pitch, they lost 4-0 away to Ballymena United.

Two goals from Noah Stewart gave the Sky Blues the lead at the break, with Calvin McCurry and Steven McCullough finding the net in the second half to complete an emphatic victory for Jim Ervin’s side.