Neil McCafferty (20p)


Billy Joe Burns (22)
Jordan Owens (28)
Jordan Owens (33)
Paul Heatley (46)
Paul Heatley (50)


Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter celebrates his sides five-goal win at Coleraine (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/


Crusaders took a huge step towards the league title with this five-goal thumping of Coleraine at The Showgrounds.

Stephen Baxter's side are now nine points clear with only five games left to play and could effectively clinch the title should they defeat only challengers Linfield next week at Windsor Park.

Neil McCafferty fired the Bannsiders in front on 20 minutes with a confident spot-kick into the corner after Darren McCauley had been tripped by Josh Robinson.

However, the Crues levelled a couple of minutes later when Stephen Douglas conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area after a foul on Jordan Owens with Billy Joe Burns tucking away the set piece.

Owens then made it 2-1 six minutes after that with a cushioned header into the bottom left corner after he was left unmarked as Burns crossed from the right.

And five minutes later he added a third when, following some sloppy defending, he was allowed to swivel inside the box before delivery an effort into the bottom corner.

Crusaders hit the Bannsiders with two further goals early in the second half.

Paul Heatley made it 4-1 barely a minute after the restart after he nutmegged Aaron Canning to fire a left-foot strike past Michael Doherty.

Heatley struck again four minutes after that when Gavin Whyte found him at the back post to head cleanly home.

Coleraine's afternoon got even worse on 66 minutes when 'keeper Doherty was dismissed for bringing down Heatley. He was replaced between the sticks by Canning.

Coleraine: Doherty, Higgins, Douglas, Ogilby, McCafferty, McGinty, Canning, Parkhill, McCauley, McNeill, McGonigle subs Browne (replaced McGinty 61), Watt (replaced McGonigle 68), Mullan (not used), Kane (not used), Lyons (not used)

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Adamson, Robinson, Caddell, McClean, Owens, Clarke, Heatley, Whyte subs Hanley (replaced Heatley 79), Magowan (not used), O'Carroll (replaced Owens 61), Molloy (replaced Adamson 46), McKibbin (not used)

Referee: Ian McNabb

Attendance: 694

Tags:  Coleraine  Crusaders