Belfast Telegraph

McConaghie double sends Coleraine five clear as Whyte leads Crusaders to another win

Coleraine 4-1 Ards; Dungannon Swifts 0-4 Crusaders

Coleraine has stretched their lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table while in-form Crusaders made it nine wins in a row.

They were routine victories from both high-flying teams, who face each other at the Showgrounds on Saturday. Here are all the details:

Coleraine 4-1 Ards

A Gareth McConaghie double has helped Coleraine to stretch their lead back to five points at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Bannsiders have played a game more than second-placed Glenavon but have bounced back to winning ways after Saturday's defeat to Linfield.

McConaghie opened the scores on 16 minutes when he nodded home after Darren McCauley's corner came back off the goal-post.

Ciaron Harkin was the creator for McConaghie's second on the stroke of half-time. Harkin's cross was again nodded home by the former Dervock man to give the Bannsiders breathing space.

Midfielder Josh Carson made it 3-0 on 63 minutes, firing in a deserved effort to cap a typically impressive performance.

It was four whenever former Kilmarnock midfielder Martin Smith scored his first goal for the club, having joined last month on a short-term deal.

Michael McLellan pulled a late goal back for Ards but that did little to spoil another good day for Coleraine.

Dungannon Swifts 0-4 Crusaders

Gavin Whyte' brace has helped Crusaders to climb to just a point behind second-placed Glenavon after a comfortable victory at Dungannon Swifts.

Stephen Baxter's side have now netted 27 goals in their last seven league games and won nine games on the trot in all competitions.

Crusaders also had their game all but won after a dominant first-half, 2-0 up at the break.

Rodney Brown headed home the opener on 17 minutes, getting on the end of a corner taken by former Swifts star Jamie Glackin.

And it was two before the half-hour mark when Ryan Harpur blocked the ball with his arm and referee Raymond Crangle pointed to the spot. Gavin Whyte's penalty squirmed through Stuart Addis' legs for the winger's eighth league goal of the season.

Gavin Whyte's second of the day and a David Cushley effort, both eye-catching strikes from the edge of the area, completed the rout for the free-scoring Crusaders.

As it happened:

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