Belfast Telegraph

It wasn't pretty but we got over the line: O'Neill

Crusaders 1 Coleraine 0

By Graham Luney

Crusaders goalkeeper Sean O'Neill kept the fireworks coming over Halloween at Seaview, producing a series of stunning saves to help his side move six points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Crues number one, who palmed away Lyndon Kane's last minute penalty, knew his side were put firmly on the ropes by Coleraine but took the hits and emerged triumphant.

"I could do without it," said O'Neill when the lively nature of the finish was raised in the post-match discussion.

"It's a big three points, especially the way the other games have gone but I keep saying it, no medals are handed out at this time.

"It's always nice to save a penalty but the last save (from Jordan Allan) which was hit on the volley was crucial.

"It could have been going in but I got the slightest of touches to it and if I didn't it could have been a goal. The way this game is for a goalkeeper one week you are a villain, the next a hero.

"I would give Coleraine a lot of credit, they are a good side but we weren't at it. We huffed and puffed and we have talked about it before, this is how you win leagues - by winning when not playing well."

Jordan Owens' ninth league goal of the season, a trademark header from a Paul Heatley cross a minute before the break, settled the contest.

But the Crues, who had Declan Caddell sent off late on when he collected a second booking for encroachment at a free kick, were grateful to O'Neill's astonishing display which included that save from Kane after Colin Coates had wrestled Gareth McConaghie to the ground.

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Beverland, Gault, Mitchell, Carvill, Caddell, Heatley, Clarke (Cushley, 66 mins), Owens. Unused subs: Dougherty, McClean, Jallow, Soares.

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Douglas, McCauley, Brown, Kee, McConaghie, Lyons, Parkhill, McGonigle, Allan. Unused subs: Mullan, Higgins, Ogilby, McCafferty, Law.

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

Man of the match: Sean O'Neill

Match rating: 8/10

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