Lockhart piles on misery for Reds
Cliftonville 0 Crusaders 1
Darren Lockhart's goal ten minutes from time gave Stephen Baxter a first north-Belfast derby victory as Crusaders manager.
In stark contrast Cliftonville - who were very much in the running for the Irish Premier League title little more than a month ago - have now gone eight games without tasting victory.
It was far from the usual cut and thrust of a derby game, but Baxter won't be complaining and his team are now still in with at least a mathematical chance of a top-six finish.
Eddie Patterson recalled Ryan Catney to the starting line-up in place of the injured Barry Johnston, otherwise the Reds were unchanged from the side which lost to Glentoran last Friday night with goalkeeper John Connolly passed fit to continue between the posts.
Free scoring David Rainey once again led the Crues line while Andy Hunter continued his recuperation from injury with a place on the visitor's bench.
He won't have been entertained by what he saw in a first-half which was bereft of any real quality and did little to inspire a crowd that had come in anticipation of a fiery derby battle.
What they got was typical end-of-season fare, but things could have been so much different had Rainey been able to connect Stephen Hyndes wicked ninth minute cross.
Mark Holland volleyed a half-chance wide at the other end just minutes later before the tie degenerated in to a largely disappointing spectacle.
Rainey almost lit things up on the half-hour though with a wonderful right-footed volley from 20-yards, but Connolly was equal to it, producing a save which drew applause even from Rainey.
Holland again went close - this time with a header - at the end of a half which unsurprisingly failed to muster a break in the deadlock.
The second-half was a much more interesting spectacle and after Chris Morrow had flashed an attempt wide for Crusaders Cliftonville's Ryan Catney twice went close from distance.
First he went close with a deflected free kick and then a right footed volley following good work from substitute Sean Cleary.
The Reds should have gone ahead just after the hour mark when Chris Scannell threaded a wonderful ball through to Shea Campbell, but his low shot was turned wide by Kerr.
Opposite number Connolly produced a similarly smart stop 10 minutes from time to keep out a cheeky Rainey back heel, but unfortunately for the Cliftonville keeper Lockhart was perfectly placed to knock the ball home.
CLIFTONVILLE: Connolly, Smyth, R Scannell, Catney, O'Hara, B Holland, M Holland, O'Connor, C Scannell, G McMullan, Campbell. Subs: McKane, O'Neill, Boyd, Cleary, Pearse.
CRUSADERS: Kerr, Magowan, Hyndes, Doherty, Smyth, Coates, Coulter, Lockhart, McAllister, Rainey, Morrow. Subs: Spence, Owens, Roy, Hunter, Crawford.
Referee: David Malcolm (Bangor).