Belfast Telegraph

Irish League Round-Up: Crusaders and Ballymena share the spoils at Seaview

Crusaders Paul Heatley in action with Ballymena's Scot Whiteside
Crusaders Paul Heatley in action with Ballymena's Scot Whiteside
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

How did the day's action in the Danske Bank Premiership go down? Find out here in our round-up of how each team got on...

Crusaders 2-2 Ballymena United

IT was honours even at Seaview as Ballymena United emerged with a point from their battle with Crusaders, the two sides playing out an entertaining 1-1 draw.

Ryan Mayse was tormentor-in-chief for the Sky Blues, scoring one along with Johnny McMurray, while Ross Clarke and Rory Patterson's second half strikes were enough to rescue a point for the Crues.

It didn't take long for the Sky Blues to stun Seaview into silence, Jude Winchester feeding McMurray and his lob beat Sean O'Neill in the 13th minute.

Indeed, Mayse was close to doubling the lead six minutes later when he fired wide, but at the other end Ross Glendinning was required to make a smart stop to deny Jordan Forsythe's free-kick.

Within 15 seconds of the restart, Crusaders were level. Ballymena never woke up from their half-time break and Clarke was gifted the time and space at the back post to nod home an equaliser.

But the two sides weren't level for long and a minute after the hour mark it was Mayse who put the visitors back ahead, slotting the ball past O'Neill from six yards, but six minutes later the Crues were level again when Patterson hammered home on the turn.

Declan Caddell then came oh so close to handing the hosts all three points when he managed to get his head on a Clarke corner in a melee of bodies, only to see his effort cannon off the crossbar.

Cliftonville 1-2 Coleraine

AARON Burns' cracking late strike saw Coleraine take all three points from their Irish Cup final rematch at Solitude against Cliftonville, the Bannsiders winning 2-1.

Cliftonville could have been ahead on two occasions early when Chris Curran struck the base of the post and then Joe Gormley found the back of the net, however the striker was offside.

The visitors had two good chances of their own after weathering the early storm, Richard Brush making an excellent intervention to prevent Josh Carson slipping in Eoin Bradley before Liam Bagnall cleared Graham Crown's effort off the line.

Brush was then called into action again to deny Jamie McGonigle when the striker went one-on-one with him, and then just after the restart Bagnall was required to make another good block to deny McGonigle himself.

The Bannsiders should have taken the lead with 20 minutes to go, a mistake at the back letting Carson feed McGonigle and, although his initial shot was cleared off the line, Aaron Burns somehow contrived to miss the simple follow-up.

But finally the breakthrough came for the visitors and it was Burns who got it, the substitute turning home a Darren McCauley cross, only for the Reds to equalise within five minutes as Gormley's deflected free-kick eluded everyone and found the back of the net.

It looked like it might be honours even at Solitude, but then up stepped substitute Burns once more, his curled drive in the final minute finding the top corner after he was set up by McGonigle, sending the away fans into raptures.

Warrenpoint Town 2-4 Glenavon

A BRACE for Andrew Mitchell was enough to see Glenavon to a 4-2 win at Q Radio Arena over Warrenpoint Town as Gary Hamilton's men picked up their first points of the campaign.

It was the hosts who struck first after just 11 minutes, Fra McCaffrey's shot blocked inside the box, but Alan O'Sullivan was on hand to follow it up and drive the rebound into the net.

But a quick-fire 11 minute triple salvo had the Lurgan Blues smiling at the break and it was Mitchell who was at the centre of them all.

First, he set up the equaliser for Mark Sykes, nodding a free-kick into the path of the midfielder to slide it home, before then providing Stephen Donnelly for the finish two minutes later after showing good strength.

The hitman was rewarded for his set-up play with a goal of his own two minutes before the interval, this time Donnelly's effort was cleared off the line but Mitchell cleaned up to add Glenavon's third.

But for Anto Reilly it would have been four just after the hour mark when he stopped a shot on the line, and that block looked even more important when Conall McGrandles made it 3-2 when he nodded in from a corner.

For the second week in a row, however, Jonny Parr conceded a sloppy goal as he misjudged a ball over the top right after McGrandles' goal and missed it completely, allowing Mitchell in behind to tap home to restore Glenavon's two goal lead.

And that was how it would finish, Glenavon happy to see out their two-goal cushion with Warrenpoint unable to claw back the deficit, condemning them to back-to-back defeats to start the campaign.

Ards 0-2 Glentoran

GLENTORAN got off the mark for the season as they played out a 2-0 victory over Ards at Clandeboye Park thanks to goals from John McGuigan and Curtis Allen.

After a fairly even opening period, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock when a free-kick was delivered into the box and McGuigan glanced a deft header into the bottom corner.

Stephen Garrett almost immediately made it two when he slammed a free-kick against the post, however they would go in at the break two to the good when Allen was able to turn home a low cross.

However, a relatively quiet second half went by without any real scoring chances and the Glens happily saw out the game for the win, while Ards are still looking for their first points of the season.

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