BLUES ENJOY SIMPLY DEVINE FINISH
Ethan Devine grabbed the stoppage time winner as Linfield edged to victory over Crusaders at Windsor Park.
A cautious start to proceedings saw both sides take some time to settle, although the Blues perhaps came closest early on when Eetu Vertainen tested Jonny Tuffey with a well struck long range effort after nine minutes.
The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes through Linfield's on loan striker Chris McKee who confidently finished past Tuffey one-on-one after getting on the end of Ahmed Salam's defence splitting pass.
But the Crues levelled just four minutes after that courtesy of Johnny McMurray's superb finish after latching onto a long ball out of defence and lifting it over the head of keeper Chris Johns.
Linfield regained the advantage in first half stoppage time. Robbie Weir was adjudged to have handed Kirk Millar's ball into the area and from the resultant spot-kick Chris Shields confidently converted into the bottom corner.
Back came Crusaders to equalise for a second time just short of the hour mark. On this occasion Jordan Forsythe rifled the ball into the area, Jimmy Callacher was ruled to have handled and Ben Kennedy stepped up to comfortably slot the penalty home.
An entertaining game, there were further chances as both sides pushed for the match winner.
Tuffey produced an outstanding reaction save to thwart Millar from close range and again with a dive to the right to keep out a Kieron Evans effort while, for the Crues, Johns turned away an acrobatic Adam Lecky attempt.
However, the winner came in the fourth minute in stoppage time when Devine powered into the box to glance Jordan Stewart's corner past Tuffey in off an upright.
Linfield: Johns, Shields, Callacher, Millar, Vertainen, Hall, McKee, McClean, Fallon, Quinn, Salam subs Walsh, Newberry, Stewart, M. Clarke, Devine, A. Clarke, Evans
Crusaders: Tuffey, Wilson, Lowry, Kennedy, Forsythe, O'Rourke, Winchester, Robinson, Clarke, McMurray subs Shields, Hegarty, Lecky, Doyle, L. Patterson, Owens, J. Patterson