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Irish League Round Up: Crusaders and Coleraine both slip up as title race reaches climax

By Gareth Hanna

It's as you were at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with Crusaders and Coleraine level on points ahead of the final round of fixtures.

Elsewhere, Glenavon stay a point ahead of Linfield in the race for third and Carrick Rangers are back off bottom spot, but only on goal difference.

Here's everything you need to know about the day's games:

Crusaders 1-1 Cliftonville

Crusaders remain ahead at the top of the table by 22 goals on goal difference after a game of two spectacular goals.

Rory Donnelly had the ball in the net 36 minutes in but referee Raymond Crangle ruled it out for a foul on Colin Coates, much to the disappointment of the Cliftonville players.

There were big chances at either end before the break, Crusaders' Jordan Owens and Joe Gormley at the other end blasting inches wide.

On 53, Jay Donnelly found himself through on goal but he delayed his shot as a the defence scampered back, he sliced a poor finish well wide.

There was no such mistake from Joe Gormley four inutes later when he smashed an unstoppable right-footed effort in off the underside of the bar from 35 yards.

Paul Heatley levelled in equally as exquisite fashion two minutes later, caressing a curling finish into the top corner.

The Crues pushed in search of a winner and would have got it but for Brian Neeson, who was alert to acrobatically deny the flying Gavin Whyte and Jordan Owens on several occasions.

Linfield 2-2 Coleraine

Coleraine know that if they better Crusaders' result next week, they will be champions after coming back from two down to draw at Windsor Park.

Linfield's two January recruits up top had the Blues two up by the break.

The unmarked Achille Campion headed in Matthew Clarke's inch-perfect cross and Kurtis Byrne volleyed in the second with a ruthless finish from 16 yards out.

Darren McCauley restored the Bannsiders' hope when he halved the deficit with a penalty kick and went on to level just a few minutes later, finishing off a swift counter-attack from the visitors.

Glenavon 0-0 Ballymena United

Glenavon stay a point clear of Linfield in third place, which could result in an automatic Europa League place without the need for the play-offs.

Glentoran 1-2 Carrick Rangers

Carrick Rangers are off bottom spot on goal difference after a momentous win at the Oval.

James Ferrin headed in John McGuigan's corner to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark.

The Gers were level when Lee Chapman converted the rebound after Darren Henderson's shot was saved and Eamon McAllister completed the come-back with a clinical finish.

Ards 1-1 Ballinamallard United

Ballinamallard are back to the foot of the table by five goals on goal difference.

Michael McLellan opened the scoring for Ards, getting onto the end of Jonny Frazer's pass and rounding the keeper to finish.

The lead didn't last long as Ryan Curran kept up his scoring streak, making it three in three finishing Colm McLaughlin's pass.

Dungannon Swifts 4-2 Warrenpoint Town

Dungannon came from two down to beat Warrenpoint.

Alan O'Sullivan opened the scoring for the visitors near the start of the second half and then set up the second, rounding the goalkeeper before squaring for Lorcan Forde to finish.

However, a quickfire treble for the hosts soon had the game turned on its head during a thrilling second period.

Kris Lowe first lashed home and Rhys Campbell then equalises with his first senior goal. That set the stage for Daniel Hughes to bag a double against his former club for 4-2.

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