Belfast Telegraph

Irish League round up: Linfield 20 points off top after Ballymena draw - Crusaders hit six against Carrick

By Gareth Hanna

Linfield are now 20 points off the top of the table after a draw at Ballymena.

It's as you were at the summit with leaders Crusaders and chasers Coleraine both winning.

The Crues are still a point ahead after cruising past Carrick 2-0 while Coleraine beat Glentoran. Elsewhere, Dungannon edged Ards 1-0.

Ballymena United 2-2 Linfield

Linfield lost further ground on the top two and could even have lose but for a late penalty miss.

Mark Stafford's first goal of the season gave Linfield the lead but United were level by the half hour mark. Neat build up from Kevin Braniff helped the Jonathan McMurray home fire a deflected effort.

Opening scorer Stafford turned provider when Andrew Waterworth finished his flicked head to restore the lead before the break.

Linfield defender Mark Haughey was dismissed with 25 minutes to go for a second yellow and Ballymena substitute Joe McKinney leveled shortly after coming on.

It could even have been worse for the Blues when Stafford brought down McMurray but Braniff’s penalty flew over the bar.

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Crusaders Jamie Glackin celebrates after firing the Crues into a 1-0 lead. Pic: Inpho/ Stephen Hamilton
 

Crusaders 6-0 Carrick Rangers

Crusaders kept up the pace at the top with a smashing success.

Jamie Glackin opened the scoring within two minutes of kick-off and soon teed up Mark McChrystal to double the lead.

And the game was all but over by the break as Billy Joe Burns headed home the third.

Paul Heatley, Matthew Snoddy and Jordan Forsythe all netted in the second half to cap another fine day for the County Antrim Shield winners.

Carrick are only a point ahead of basement side Ballinamallard.

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Coleraine's Ciaron Harkin celebrates his goal at The Oval. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
 

Glentoran 0-2 Coleraine

Coleraine scored at the start and the end to keep up their chase at the top.

The game was only 25 seconds old when Eoin Bradley sprinted clear to finish. Ciaron Harkin added a late penalty to keep the Bannsiders a point behind.

Dungannon Swifts 1-0 Ards

There was just one goal at Stangmore Park as Paul McElroy finished off a dangerous Cormac Burke corner in the second half.

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