CRUES CLAIM BOXING DAY BRAGGING RIGHTS
Crusaders swept to a three-goal victory over north Belfast neighbours in the big Boxing Day derby at Seaview.
The Crues might have moved in front with a little over ten minutes on the clock when Adam Lecky saw his rebound crash back off the crossbar after Nathan Gartside had saved his initial effort.
But, with a quarter-of-an-hour gone, they did seize the advantage after a Paul Heatley left-sided corner came off the back of defender Luke Turner whilst under pressure from Philip Lowry.
Cliftonville attempted to draw level through Joe Gormley and then Ronan Hale but both were kept out by some resolute defending.
However, the home side doubled their lead on 36 minutes when Heatley got his name on the scoresheet after connecting with Jarlath O'Rourke's low ball into the box.
The Reds kept chasing the game after the break, threatening through Hale again before Heatley almost inadvertently headed the ball into his own net.
With four minutes remaining, however, Jordan Owens put the issue beyond any doubt with a well executed right foot strike from distance beyond the despairing Gartside.
Crusaders: Tuffey, Burns, Hegarty, Caddell, Robinson, Lowry, Lecky, Forsythe, O’Rourke, Winchester, Heatley subs Murphy, Ebbe, Owens, Steele, McMurray, Boyd, Rafferty
Cliftonville: Gartside, Addis, Gallagher, McDonagh, Lowe, Gormley, Casey, Turner, Ronan Hale, Coates, Moore subs Donnelly, Ives, C. Curran, Rory Hale, R. Curran, Robinson, Doherty