Dungannon Swifts make point against wasteful Crusaders
Crusaders 1 Dungannon Swifts 1: Skipper Ryan Harpur salvaged a point for Dungannon Swifts in last night's Premier League thriller at Seaview.
The 24-year-old driving instructor grabbed an unexpected equaliser after Gary McCutcheon had shot Crusaders into an early second half lead.
But Crusaders will be kicking themselves for squandering vital Premier League points – they should have been out of sight before Harpur struck.
Crusaders shot from the traps with Timmy Adamson almost embarrassing the Swifts defence in the opening seconds only to see his shot loop over the crossbar.
The home team threatened again on eight minutes. Craig McClean's cross was flicked on by the in-form Adamson for Jordan Owens, whose volley was brilliantly beaten away by goalkeep
Dungannon at last mustered a response with Ryan Harpur stinging the hands off goalkeeper Sean O'Neill with a 30 yard free kick after Terry Fitzpatrick was hauled down by a clumsy challenge from Craig McClean.
But the action immediately switched to the other end with lively Heatley's low, powerful drive rippling the side netting.
Then Caddell burst into the box to meet another McClean cross, but his first time effort finished on the nearby Shore Road.
Crusaders carried on the second half where they finished the first. Defender David Magowan joined his forwards only to send an audacious 30-yard drive wide of the mark.
The eager home side had only nine minutes of the second half before they gave their patient fans something cheer. Coates' long punt forward was laid off by Adamson for McCutcheon to ram home from 18 yards, off the heel of substitute McCafferty.
But in their first meaningful attack off the game, Swifts grabbed a shock equaliser.
Cameron Grieve looped in a deep cross from the left which was headed in by Harpur, but O'Neill certainly didn't cover himself in glory for the equaliser, as he completely missed his punch.
Heatley looked to repair the damage when he cut in from the left, but his low shot was easily dealt with by Buchanan.
Buchanan produced a wonderful save on 78 minutes punching a block-buster from substitute Eamon McAllister over the top.
McCaffery came within inches of winning it for the visitors, but his header from a Harpur corner kick scraped the post as the game ended all square.
Crusaders: O'Neill, Magowan, Coates, Morrow, Adamson, Caddel (Snoddy 85 mins), McCutcheon (E McAllister 72 mins), McClean, Owens, Heatley (D McAllister 78 mins), King. Subs not used: Robinson, Watson.
Dungannon SwiftS: Buchanan, McCullough, Brennan, Copeland, McKerr (McCaffery 50 mins), R Harpur, T Fitzpatrick, Grieve, Costello (Douglas 64 mins), Boyce, S Lavery. Subs not used: C Lavery, Doyle, Hutchinson.
Referee: Colin Burns (Newtownabbey).