Irish Premiership: Crusaders go four points clear after Linfield are held

Paul Heatley
Paul Heatley was the hat-trick hero for Crusaders at Seaview

A Paul Heatley hat-trick saw Crusaders beat Carrick Rangers 3-1 to move four points clear at the top of the table as Linfield drew 1-1 at Coleraine.

Substitute James McLaughlin levelled for the Bannsiders after Andrew Waterworth had scored for the Blues.

Eoin Bradley grabbed a brace as Glenavon saw off Ballymena 5-0 while Glentoran defeated Cliftonville 2-1.

Portadown picked up a 2-1 win away to Ballinamallard while Ards were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Dungannon Swifts.

Re-live all the afternoon's action as it happened here

Carrick put up stiff resistance against the league leaders at Seaview, before Heatley pounced to score his first after latching onto a long bouncing ball forward in the 33rd minute.

Heatley lobbed Brian Neeson for his second four minutes later but Tiernan McNicholl's low shot from the edge of the area against the run of play in the 56th minute gave the visitors hope.

The Crues forward completed his treble by beating Neeson from the edge of the area with seven minutes remaining.

Waterworth put Linfield ahead at Ballycastle Road with a 17th-minute header low into the bottom corner for his fourth of the season and his second in the league.

Andrew Waterworth gave Linfield a first-half lead with his second league goal of the season
Andrew Waterworth gave Linfield a first-half lead with his second league goal of the season

Brad Lyons and Jamie Mulgrew struck the woodwork for their respective sides, then substitute James McLaughlin restored parity with a headed effort on 54, two minutes after his introduction.

Sixth-placed Glenavon moved to within a point of Ballymena United by trouncing the Sky Blues at Mourneview Park.

Bradley's free-kick, Ciaran Martyn's strike after running onto a Bradley through ball and a Jim Ervin own goal saw the Lurgan Blues go in three goals to the good at the interval.

Bradley smashed in his second with 10 minutes remaining and Greg Moorhouse added the fifth to clinch his side's second victory in seven league outings.

Eoin Bradley gave Glenavon an early lead against Ballymena
Eoin Bradley gave Glenavon an early lead against Ballymena with the first of his two goals

Glentoran gave Gary Haveron his first home win as manager of the Oval club by emerging winners in a keenly fought game against Cliftonville at the Oval.

Jay Donnelly opened the scoring by sidefooting home at the near post after being played in by Jude Winchester five minutes before the break.

Nacho Novo's superb volley from an Aaron Harmon flick-on two minutes after half-time brought the sides level and Steven Gordon headed in the decisive goal from a Harmon cross with six minutes left.

Troubled Ports cheered by away win

Portadown moved to within eight points of Carrick Rangers at the foot of the table by triumphing at Ballinamallard.

Niall Henderson netted from the penalty spot after Daniel Lafferty fouled Aaron Haire and Stephen Hughes shot past James McGrath, before Shane McGinty grabbed what proved to be a consolation with a header from six yards.

Carl McComb's goal in injury-time earned a late point for Ards against Dungannon Swifts.

Andy Mitchell broke the deadlock, finding the net from a cross by debutant Peter McMahon.

Michael Ruddy equalised with a penalty after a foul on Johnny Taylor, but Cormac Burke nudged the Swifts in front with the first of his two goals, forcing the ball home after it rebounded off the bar.

David McAllister rifled into the bottom corner to make it 2-2, Burke rolled home his second after good work by Mitchell, but McComb's late intervention ensured the home side salvaged a point.

Danske Bank Premiership - Results
Ards3-3Dungannon Swifts
Ballinamallard Utd1-2Portadown
Coleraine1-1Linfield
Crusaders3-1Carrick Rangers
Glenavon5-0Ballymena Utd
Glentoran2-1Cliftonville