Paul Heatley is mobbed after his two goals earned the points for Crusaders (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)
Saturday, 10 September 2016
Crusaders maintained their four point gap at the top of the table after coming from behind to defeat Dungannon Swifts at Seaview.
The Crues got off to a blistering start, almost going in front as early as the 45th second when Jordan Owens flicked the ball just over from point blank range.
And Owens came close again moments later only to direct a header just wide while, on 20 minutes, he did have the ball in the net from a Gavin Whyte pass only for it to be ruled out offside.
However, it fell to the visitors to open the scoring on the half-hour mark when Paul McElroy caught the Crues defence wide open to lay the ball off for Seanan Clucas to beat Sean O'Neill.
But the lead only lasted a matter of minutes when Whyte levelled for the Crues with a clinical right-foot spot-kick after he had been upended by Matt Hazley as he burst into the area.
Then, moments from the break, Gault almost handed the advantage to Crusaders but his shot was headed off the line before being cleared.
Paul Heatley might have added a second for the Crues with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining with a decent chance from a Jordan Forsythe ball while, soon after, Whyte fired a left-foot drive off the crossbar after Howard Beverland had opened up the opportunity.
Heatley did make it 2-1 on 78 minutes after Billy Joe Burns had knocked on a quickly taken Whyte free-kick - and he added a third for the Crues to complete the scoring towards the end with a stunning diagonal strike into the bottom right corner.
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Gault, Coates, Lowry, Caddell, McClean, Owens, Heatley, Whyte subs Mitchell (not used), Carvill (replaced Caddell 89), Forsythe (replaced Lowry 63), Holden (not used), Clarke (not used)
Dungannon Swifts: Coleman, Hegarty, Wilson, Armstrong, Glackin, Hazley, Mitchell, Harpur, Lowe, Clucas, McElroy subs Addis (not used), Teggart (replaced McElroy 68), Fitzpatrick (replaced Wilson 87), Burke (replaced Lowe 53), McCashin (not used)
Referee: Ian McNabb
|Billy Joe Burns|