Gavin Whyte (04)
Jordan Owens (19)
Billy Joe Burns (90 2)

3

Jordan Owens celebrates putting Crusaders two-up (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)

CRUES RETURN TO POLE POSITION

Crusaders moved back to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership following this three-goal defeat of Ballinamallard United at Seaview.

The Crues needed just four minutes to open the scoring after Gavin Whyte fired home from an acute angle following a mistake by 'keeper Stefan McCusker.

Timmy Adamson almost made it 2-0 after a quarter-of-an-hour with a header just over the bar after Colin Coates had knocked on a Richard Clarke free-kick.

But that second goal did arrive four minutes later. From a long Sean O'Neill clearance Whyte turned the ball in from the right for Paul Heatley to produce a superb save from McCusker before the loose ball fell for Jordan Owens to head home.

Josh Robinson then came close to extending the lead only to be denied by a superb reaction save from the visiting 'keeper while, at the other end, Johnny Courtney just missed the target after John Currie had cut back his initial flick back into his path.

After the break Heatley almost added number three when his relatively tame header was almost turned into his own net by Liam McMenamin before McCusker saved.

To their credit, the Mallards didn't give up and almost reduced the deficit just after the hour mark when Ryan Campbell had a shot on goal which O'Neill had to be at his best to turn away on his left hand side.

The Crues had to wait until stoppage time to grab their third goal after Billy Joe Burns worked his way into the area before firing past McCusker from close range into the bottom corner.

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Robinson, McClean, Caddell, Clarke, Heatley, Whyte, Adamson, Owens subs Hanley (not used), Friars (not used), O'Flynn (replaced Owens 86), O'Carroll (replaced Whyte 89), Molloy (replaced Adamson 74)

Ballinamallard United: McCusker, McMenamin, Stafford, Martin, Lafferty, Currie, McKenna, N. Beacom, Campbell, Courtney, McLaughlin subs Murphy (not used), Hutchinson (replaced McKenna 46), McCartney (replaced McLaughlin 43), Foy (replaced Currie 79), Phair (not used)

Referee: Evan Boyce

Attendance: 830