Cormac Burke (77)

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Paul Heatley (10)
Colin Coates (34)

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Colin Coates celebrates doubling Crusaders' lead (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)

CRUES EXTEND LEAD TO NINE POINTS

Crusaders stretched their lead at the top of the table to nine points with this defeat of Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.

The Crues started with purpose, striking the top of the crossbar as early as the fourth minute when Jordan Forsythe offered up a free-kick.

At the other end a few minutes later Andrew Mitchell might have fired the Swifts in front only to fire across the face of goal and the wrong side of an upright.

However, Crusaders edged in front on ten minutes when, from a Craig McClean free-kick, a Jordan Owens looping header was nodded home by Paul Heatley at the back post.

And Stephen Baxter's side deservedly doubled their advantage just after the half-hour mark. A corner wasn't properly cleared by the home defence and when Forsythe knocked the ball back into the area Colin Coates was there to head into the top right corner.

Owens had a chance on 52 minutes to add a third from another McClean set piece but couldn't direct his header goalbound.

But Dungannon kept pressing and might have levelled five minutes after that when Paul McElroy found David Armstrong before eventually winning a corner after Declan Caddell was forced to clear.

The Swifts were rewarded with just under a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when Cormac Burke pulled one back after his shot squirmed over the line after a good build-up from Peter McMahon.

Dungannon Swifts: Coleman, Hegarty, Wilson, Armstrong, Glackin, Mitchell, Harpur, O'Rourke, Burns, McElroy, Lockhart subs Addis (not used), Teggart (replaced Lockhart 83), Lowe (not used), Burke (replaced Burns 48), McMahon (replaced McElroy 58)

Crusaders: Dougherty, Burns, Beverland, Coates, Carvill, Caddell, Forsythe, McClean, Owens, Heatley, Whyte subs Suarez (replaced Owens 90+3), Lowry (replaced Carvill 74), Cushley (not used), Clarke (replaced Caddell 86), Keane (not used)

Referee: Evan Boyce

Attendance: 534

Tags:  Crusaders  Dungannon Swifts