Colin Coates is mobbed after his 94th minute winner (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC COATES WINS DAY FOR BATTLING CRUES

Colin Coates grabbed a 94th minute winner amid dramatic scenes at Ferney Park as Crusaders held onto their five-point lead at the top of the table.

The opening exchanges produced little by way of clear cut chances although Jordan Owens did have the ball in the net early on but this was ruled out offside.

Jordan Forsythe did come close, however, midway through the first half with a long range effort which grazed the outside of a post.

Then, just after the half-hour mark, Owens burst through the defence to beat Stefan McCusker only for defender Ryan Morris to clear the ball off the line.

The deadlock was almost broken moments from the break when Diarmuid O'Carroll tested McCusker with a well struck effort but the home 'keeper did well to push the ball away.

The best chance of the game to date came around the hour mark when Owens got onto the end of a cross only to head into the ground and then over from close range.

As the game drifted into the final 20 minutes Paul Heatley could only turn a shot from David Magowan's cross onto the post while, moments later, another effort was cleared off the line.

But, just when they thought it wasn't going to be their night, the Crues showed their never-say-die spirit with that remarkable late winner when an O'Carroll delivery was nodded home at the near post by skipper Coates.

Ballinamallard United: McCusker, Morris, Elliott, Friars, Feeney, McCabe, McKenna, Beacom, Currie, Lafferty, Sproule subs McMenamin (not used), McCartney (replaced Beacom 73), Falconer (not used), Lecky (replaced Feeney 46), Campbell (replaced Currie 86)

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Magowan, Robinson, Coates, Mitchell, Snoddy, Heatley, Forsythe, Owens, O'Carroll subs Clarke (not used), McKibbin (not used), Stewart (not used), Holden (replaced Mitchell 84), Vauls (not used)

Referee: Raymond Crangle

Attendance: 564