Belfast Telegraph

Irish League Round Up: Lyons nets as Coleraine win to maintain gap at the top

Ards 0-2 Glenavon; Ballymena United 2-1 Ballinamallard United; Carrick Rangers 1-3 Coleraine; Crusaders 1-0 Glentoran; Linfield 1-0 Dungannon Swifts; Warrenpoint 1-2 Cliftonville

The top five all won on Saturday afternoon to keep up the chase at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

Here's are round-up of all the afternoon's results:

Carrick Rangers 1-3 Coleraine

Coleraine preserved their six point gap on Crusaders and Glenavon with a battling win over struggling Rangers.

Brad Lyons netted on his first start since return from injury at the perfect time to give the Crues a 2-1 half-time lead - arguably the crucial moment of the match. The midfielder nodded in Darren McCauley's corner right on the whistle.

The league leaders had taken an early lead when Ciaron Harkin curled into the bottom corner just three minutes in. It was level nine minutes later when former Coleraine full-back Mark Edgar sent a perfect free-kick into the top corner.

The points were made safe when Jamie McGonigle tapped home the third to keep Coleraine six clear at the top.

Crusaders 1-0 Glentoran

Jordan Forsythe's second strike helped Crusaders to keep up their chase of leaders Coleraine.

After a sluggish first-half from the hosts, it seemed it would take something special to spark them into action. That arrived on 54 minutes when a neat Paul Heatley pivot allowed him to tee up Jordan Forsythe, who caressed a finish first time into the bottom corner.

The Glens had the best of the first half chances as Robbie McDaid and Callum Birney both hit the side-netting. McDaid in particular could have done better, missing after seizing on a slack Mark McChrystal back-pass to round goalkeeper Brian Jensen. Birney then headed narrowly wide after getting on the end of a telling Marcus Kane cross.

For Crusaders, Jordan Owens went closest before the break, heading BJ Burns' free-kick wide.

The goal at the start of the second half had the Crues in the lead when Howard Beverland was sent off for a second yellow-card on 76.

Ards 0-2 Glenavon

Two late goals for a Mark Sykes inspired Glenavon kept them six points off the top, despite going down to ten men during the first half.

Andrew Doyle was sent off on 37 minutes when the defender fouled Jonah Mitchell, to pick up his second booking.

Nonetheless, winger Adam Foley opened the scoring on 80 minutes, converting Mark Sykes' cross. And it was scorer turned provider for the second as Sykes dazzled the home defence before firing home a spectacular effort.

Between those two strikes, Jonny Taylor had been dismissed for the hosts as both teams ended the game down to ten.

Linfield 1-0 Dungannon Swifts

Andy Waterworth's goal mid-way through the second half proved enough for Linfield to make it four wins from their last five league games.

It was the 31-year-old's fourth Premiership goal of the season, in his ninth league start after returning from injury.

Warrenpoint Town 1-2 Cliftonville

Joe Gormley's 12th goal of the season opened the scores on just three minutes but Sean Mackle's lob levelled for the hosts - the first league goal the Reds have conceded since October.

It didn't phase them much as Rory Donnelly fired home his seventh goal of the Premiership campaign to give his side the half-time advantage.

And the points were made safe when Jay Donnelly netted a late third.

Ballymena United 2-1 Ballinamallard United

Tony Kane missed a penalty in the midweek County Antrim Shield semi-final win but made amends before the break, converting the opener after Ryan McConnell had handled in the area.

It was two just before the hour-mark when Cathair Friel converted Johnny McMurray's cross for his eighth league goal of the season.

Gary Armstrong pulled one back in the 84th minute but the basement side couldn't get back to earn a share of the spoils.

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