Rainey helps Crusaders to shine against struggling Lisburn Distillery
Lisburn Distillery 0 Crusaders 2
Crusaders consolidated their second place spot in the Danske Bank Premiership thanks to two goals from striker David Rainey.
The win also keeps their title aspirations alive, and whilst they lie eleven points off leaders Cliftonville with seven games to play and the sides to meet twice, they move eight points clear of third placed Linfield and also have a game in hand over last season's champions.
Six minutes in, Crusaders keeper Yohann Lacroix, the Seaview side's hero in the recent Irish Cup win over the Whites, again frustrated Distillery when he made a good save to keep out an Aaron Boyd snapshot.
A shot from Rainey then drifted wide before Joshua Robinson sent a cross into the side netting but on 17 minutes they combined to put the visitors ahead. Robinson's header dropped in behind Andy Hunter and Rainey raced clear to blast a low shot into the corner of the goal.
Three minutes later Jordan Forsythe was denied an equaliser when Paul Leeman made a super block.
Whites' skipper Ryan McCann did have an effort off target on the half hour but either side of that Jordan Owens spurned two good chances when he headed wide of the mark.
On 52 minutes David McMaster almost bagged a second after some great play .
He cut inside Johnny Harkness and as Lee Windrum came out McMaster cheekily and skillfully lofted the ball over the keeper but Phil Simpson was in the right place to head off the line.
The points were banked a minute later by Rainey when Timmy Adamson's cross was nodded on by Owens and Rainey fired home from 15 yards out.
The crossbar then denied Rainey his hat-trick on the hour mark when he swivelled in the box. His shot rebounded back out and his follow up was off target.
For the second home match in a row the Whites failed to trouble the opposition and bar that early save, Lacroix had a quiet night in the visitors goal. Seventeen minutes from time Adamson should have scored but miskicked in front of goal before Owens saw a shot flash wide on 82 minutes.
Another home defeat leaves the Whites still bottom of the table, two points behind Donegal Celtic with the sides now level on games played. Both sides meet in what will be a crucial encounter at New Grosvenor on Easter Tuesday.
Lisburn Distillery: Windrum, Smyth, Simpson, Hunter, Harkness, Davidson (Withers 62), McCann (McCullough 87), Melly (Gordon 62), Forsythe, Boyd, Halliday. Subs not used – Garrett, Traynor.
Crusaders: Lacroix, Leeman, Coates, Magowan, McClean, Robinson, Caddell, McMaster (McCutcheon 83), Adamson (Snoddy 90+1), Owens, Rainey. Subs not used – McBride, McAllister, Gibson.
Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)