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Linfield edge closer to title after rivals Glentoran and Coleraine fail to land blow

Blues can surge further clear at top after Coleraine and Glens draw again

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Eoin Bradley celebrates after Matthew Shevlin scored Coleraine’s second half equaliser against Glentoran at the Showgrounds last night

Eoin Bradley celebrates after Matthew Shevlin scored Coleraine’s second half equaliser against Glentoran at the Showgrounds last night

Inpho/Stephen Hamilton

Robbie McDaid

Robbie McDaid

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Eoin Bradley celebrates after Matthew Shevlin scored Coleraine’s second half equaliser against Glentoran at the Showgrounds last night

Glentoran and Coleraine played out back-to-back stalemates this week to give Linfield the perfect lift in their title defence.

After the 2-2 draw at The Oval on Tuesday, the sides drew 1-1 at the Showgrounds last night, meaning neither side turned up the heat on the Blues.

League leaders and champions Linfield are now eight points ahead of the Bannsiders with a game in hand and 10 ahead of the Glens. Striker Robbie McDaid fired the visitors into a first half lead with his 12th league goal of the season but Eoin Bradley pounced to deny the east Belfast side victory. Glentoran have not beaten Coleraine in the league in their last 16 attempts and they were left reflecting on what might have been after Rory Donnelly's late chance wasn't taken.

The Blues take on Ballymena United at Windsor Park tonight (5.30pm) and with only seven league fixtures to contest, they will be hungry to keep Coleraine and their Big Two rivals at a safe distance.

Fourth placed Larne cruised to a 4-0 victory at home to Warrenpoint Town. Josh Robinson's header and an Andrew Mitchell penalty gave the hosts a comfortable lead at half-time. Martin Donnelly and Ronan Hale were on target in the second half.

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In a big match in the race for a top six spot, Crusaders fought back from 1-0 down to sweep aside Glenavon 6-1. Glenavon raced into an early lead through Matthew Fitzpatrick before Crusaders came roaring back with goals from Philip Lowry, Paul Heatley (2), Ross Clarke and Jamie McGonigle (2).

In the meeting of the league's bottom-two at Taylors Avenue, Dungannon scored their first goal in six games but Cathal McGinty's header wasn't decisive as Cathair Friel's equaliser made it 1-1.

In tonight's other Premiership clash, Portadown host Cliftonville (5.30pm).


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