Rhys Marshall (41)
Ciaran Martyn (54)
Kevin Braniff (66p)


Paul Heatley (07)
Gavin Whyte (42)
Diarmuid O'Carroll (48p)
Jordan Owens (51)
Gavin Whyte (56)
Gavin Whyte (75)
Paul Heatley (90 2)


Gavin Whyte celebrates putting the Crues 2-1 up at Mourneview (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)


Crusaders hit seven goals past Glenavon at Mourneview Park in a remarkable game which saw Stephen Baxter's side take a huge step towards clinching the league title.

Paul Heatley handed the Crues the early advantage when, after seven minutes, he made the most of a mix-up in the home defence to send the ball past Alan Blayney into the bottom corner.

Kevin Braniff might have levelled six minutes later after spotting an opening in the Crues rearguard only to fire into the side-netting.

Then, not long after that, Colin Coates thought he had made it 2-0 after tapping home following a Blayney save but the goal was ruled out offside.

Glenavon levelled four minutes from the break when Ciaran Martyn saw a header pushed out by Sean O'Neill but only as far as Rhys Marshall who forced the loose ball over the line from barely a yard out.

The Crues regained the advantage almost immediately through Gavin Whyte with a superb first time finish after Heatley had crossed the ball from the left-hand side to the back post.

And the game was put beyond doubt barely three minutes into the second half when Heatley burst into the area before being brought down by Marshall - who was duly sent-off - with Diarmuid O'Carroll stepping up to knock the subsequent penalty home with his right-foot.

It was 4-1 on 51 minutes after Whyte burst through the defence before unselfishly laying the ball off for Jordan Owens to blast home.

Glenavon pulled a goal back three minutes after that through Martyn after he capitalised on some slack defending from a free-kick to flick the ball over O'Neill.

But, within a couple of minutes, Whyte restored Crusaders' three goal advantage with a sublime chip over Blayney after Heatley had poked the ball through.

The scoring continued on 66 minutes when Timmy Adamson was adjudged to have blocked a corner with his arm with Kevin Braniff duly converting the resultant penalty as Glenavon closed the gap again.

However, there was another twist in this remarkable game with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when Whyte claimed his hat-trick after his effort hit the bar before bouncing down and over the line.

Then, right at the end, Heatley grabbed number seven for the Crues after sweeping up the loose ball from a blocked Owens effort.

Glenavon: Blayney, McKeown, Murphy, Bradley, Caldwell, McGrory, Marshall, Braniff, McCabe, Martyn, Singleton subs Lindsay (replaced McKeown 62), Kilmartin (not used), Patton (not used), Sykes (replaced Caldwell 78), O'Brien (replaced McCabe 74)

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, McClean, Robinson, Clarke, Whyte, Heatley, O'Carroll, Owens, Adamson subs Hanley (replaced Robinson 87), Magowan (not used), Leeman (replaced Whyte 76), O'Flynn (replaced O'Carroll 82), O'Hanlon (not used)

Referee: Andrew Davey

Attendance: 1116

Tags:  Crusaders  Glenavon