Paul Heatley wheels away in delight after grabbing what proved to be the winner (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)
Friday, 26 December 2014
A Paul Heatley goal was enough to see Crusaders beat Cliftonville at Solitude to go clear in second spot.
Both sides had their chances early in the game with Timmy Adamson seeing an effort deflected for corner while, for Cliftonville, David McDaid was denied by a superb Sean O'Neill save.
The game failed to live up to this initial promise for the remainder of the first half with the only major incident of note being a serious injury to Barry Johnston which necessitated his premature substitution.
The deadlock was finally broken on the hour after Gavin Whyte delivered the ball from the right for Heatley to sweep it past Conor Devlin into the left of the goal.
Then, with around 15 minutes left, Jordan Owens might have made it 2-0 only to be denied by a good Devlin stop while, at the other end, Colin Coates did well to turn the ball over his own bar as the Reds pushed forward.
The Reds came close twice in the final minutes to salvaging a point. First, O'Neill did well to deal with an overhead McDaid effort before, right at the end, Winchester found himself in space but again O'Neill came to the rescue.
Cliftonville: Devlin, McGovern, Scannell, Johnston, Curran, McDaid, M. Donnelly, Smyth, Catney, Gormley, Cosgrove subs Flynn (not used), McMullan (replaced Curran 82), Seydak (not used), Winchester (replaced Johnston 12), J. Donnelly (replaced M. Donnelly 78)
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, McClean, Caddell, Clarke, Robinson, Whyte, Heatley, Adamson, Owens subs Hazley (not used), Snoddy (replaced Whyte 83), Cockcroft (not used), Friars (not used), O'Carroll (replaced Adamson 90+2)
Referee: Raymond Crangle
|Billy Joe Burns|
|Timmy Adamson||90 +2|
|George McMullan||90 +4||82|
|Diarmuid O'Carroll||90 +2|