Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine and Crusaders keep up heat on rivals

By Graham Luney

Coleraine and Crusaders passed tough tests last night to keep their Danske Bank Premiership title missions on track.

The league's top two will tuck into their Christmas turkey with that winning feeling after leaders Coleraine - who maintain their six-point advantage - won 2-0 at Warrenpoint Town and Crusaders edged out Ballymena United 2-1 at Seaview.

Ian Parkhill's deflected shot and a late Darren McCauley goal sealed the points at Milltown while Matthew Shevlin's opener at Seaview sparked the Crues into life and a Colin Coates header and Gavin Whyte penalty secured the win.

Crues skipper Coates said: "You have to dig out some results and we did that. It was scrappy but we managed to hang on for the win. They grew in confidence and we haven't kept enough clean sheets by our standards. We make it hard for ourselves but we are delighted with the win and it keeps our good run going."

It's third v fifth in the Premiership this afternoon when Cliftonville visit Windsor Park to take on Linfield.

Meanwhile, Glentoran goalkeeper Elliott Morris says he's confident he will agree a new two-year deal with the club in the next few days.

The shot-stopper’s contract expires at the end of the season, but his fierce loyalty to the Glens is not in doubt.

Morris, who has been with the east Belfast side for more than 15 years, says he wants that relationship to continue, dashing the hopes of other clubs keen to make a move in January.

“I’ve spoken to the chairman (Stephen Henderson) and hopefully it will be agreed in the next few days,” said Morris, who made his Glens debut in August 2002.

“I’m not the most difficult person to deal with when it comes to contracts, and fingers crossed we can reach an agreement. I asked for a two-year deal and hopefully the board can agree to that. I don’t want to leave and I told the chairman that. I’m happy at Glentoran, I would love to leave this club in a good position when I do hang up the gloves.

“I’m 36 now but I’m feeling great and am happy with my form. The boys are working hard to improve performances and results and I want to be part of it.”

Morris’ new deal will bring some welcome festive cheer to the Glentoran fans, who have endured a frustrating campaign.

Gary Haveron’s side are seventh after winning only seven of their 19 league games. The Glens visit Carrick Rangers today.

“We could have got something out of the Crusaders and Cliftonville games but we’ve got to start scoring,” said Morris. “It’s important we start winning matches again.

“We are halfway through the season and we’ve got to raise our performance level.

“There’s still a lot to play for this season, including the Irish Cup, so we must get our heads down.

“I’d also like a few more wins over Linfield on Boxing Day, if possible, before I retire!”

Belfast Telegraph

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