Gavin Whyte rushes to celebrate with Crusaders' fans after his late, late goal (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)
Saturday, 09 April 2016
Late goals from Gavin Whyte and Jordan Forsythe saw Crusaders put one hand on the Gibson Cup with victory over challengers Linfield at Seaview.
Stephen Baxter's defending champions are now a commanding eight points clear of the Blues with just four games of the season remaining.
Andrew Waterworth carved out the first effort of note during the opening exchanges with a shot just wide of the post which Sean O'Neill had to work to cover.
At the other end Declan Caddell had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out by referee Paul Tuite following a foul on 'keeper Ross Glendinning.
The Crues continued to press in what was a bright start to the game with both Paul Heatley and Jordan Owens seeing later efforts blocked.
Just a couple of minutes from the break Owens then flashed an effort just wide of an upright.
Stephen Lowry came close for the Blues around the hour mark when his effort was touched onto an upright by O'Neill.
Then, not long after that, Gavin Whyte cut inside from the right only to send his cross narrowly wide. Heatley then looked dangerous after going past both Sean Ward and Lowry before producing a good save from Ross Glendinning.
But the goal that might well have retained the Gibson Cup for Crusaders came right at the end of normal time when Whyte rushed through on goal to divert the ball beyond Glendinning.
Substitute Forsythe made sure four minutes into added time with an exquisite chip over Glendinning from outside the area after collecting the ball from Heatley on the left.
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Robinson, McClean, Caddell, Snoddy, Mitchell, Owens, Heatley, Whyte subs Clarke (not used), Carvill (not used), O'Carroll (not used), Forsythe (replaced Caddell 82), McKibbin (not used)
Linfield: Glendinning, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth, Lowry, Millar, Ward, Clarke, Mulgrew, Gaynor, Smyth subs Bates (replaced Millar 73), McLellan (replaced Clarke 82), Kee (not used), Fallon (replaced Smyth 84), Quinn (not used)
Referee: Paul Tuite
|Billy Joe Burns||66|
|Jordan Forsythe||82||90 +4|