Crusaders 0 Linfield 1
David Jeffrey hailed his side’s “strength of character” as Linfield celebrated another massive victory in the title race on Saturday.
Crusaders asked more than a few questions of the Blues’ defence at Seaview but the champions passed a tricky test.
Centre-backs William Murphy and Albert Watson stood tall to frustrate Michael Halliday, Jordan Owens and a lively David Rainey after the interval.
“I know at times people are critical of the local game but during the game the ball was all over the place in the swirling winds and we needed real strength of character to get the win,” said Jeffrey.
“We were better in the first half but Crusaders were dominant in the second and we needed to be strong and resolute. It’s a big three points.
“We’re quietly content where we are but look at Portadown’s response, and Cliftonville keep winning. It’s really tight, and by the time we play Glenavon on Saturday they’ll have a new manager.
“It’s up to us to show a good level of consistency.”
Mark McAllister bagged his 14th goal of the season on 28 minutes to settle a feisty affair.
Gareth McKeown and David Rainey squandered chances for the hosts and perhaps the Crues — who had skipper Colin Coates red carded in the last minute — deserved an equaliser, though it could also be argued that the solid and strong visiting defence earned their clean sheet.