Irish Premiership: Crusaders 2-2 Linfield

Match action from Crusaders against Linfield at Seaview

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Second-placed Crusaders secure a 2-2 draw at home to Premiership champions Linfield.

Crusaders substitute David Rainey grabbed a 90th-minute equaliser to deny Linfield victory in an incident-packed Premiership clash at Seaview.

Linfield had taken the lead through Billy Joe Burns in the 20th minute but Gary McCutcheon levelled for the Crues.

In the 58th minute Brian McCaul scored a disputed penalty, awarded against Crues defender Craig McClean for a shirt pull on Philip Lowry.

Crusaders striker Jordan Owens was sent-off eight minutes from time.

The red card came after a flag went up and, after consulting an assistant, referee Ross Dunlop signalled an elbowing offence.

The result means second-placed Crusaders are now six points behind leaders Cliftonville while champions Linfield remain fifth in the table

The opening goal was a well-taken first-time strike by Burns after a Michael Carvill corner was flicked beyond the far post.

Carvill had a chance to make it two but his shot was saved by Sean O'Neill, while at the other end Linfield keeper Alan Blayney tipped Paul Heatley's shot over the bar.

Linfield's Peter Thompson shot straight at keeper O'Neill from a good position and Josh Robinson of Crusaders saw his shot clip the crossbar.

The Crues equalised with the last kick of the half as McCutcheon pounced on a loose ball after Thompson sliced his attempted clearance.

Then came the first major talking point as a 58th-minute penalty was awarded after assistant linesman Gareth Eakin spotted McClean's tug on Blues midfielder Lowry.

McCaul slotted in the penalty to give Linfield a precious 2-1 lead.

Owens had a good chance to equalise but shot wide after getting past defender William Murphy.

At the other end, Mark McAllister's shot was blocked on the line by Colin Coates.

The Crues were down to 10 men when Owens was shown that straight red card but Rainey salvaged a point with a close-range strike.

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter: "I am disappointed we missed out on a couple of big decisions, but we did well to fight back and scored two good goals. We dominated play in the second half."

Linfield boss David Jeffrey: "We gave away silly free kicks and Crusaders exploited that. The result is disappointing, but I am proud of the way my players stood up to the challenge."

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