Irish Premiership: Cushley strike clinches Crues victory

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David Cushley scores to give Crusaders the points at Stangmore Park

Crusaders stayed seven points clear at the Premiership summit thanks to David Cushley's late free-kick against Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.

The only goal came on 84 minutes while second-placed Linfield romped to a 5-0 win at basement team Portadown.

Cliftonville beat Ballymena 2-0 at Solitude and Carrick defeated Coleraine by the same scoreline to chalk up their first home league win this season.

Glentoran edged Ards 1-0 with the Mallards v Glenavon game called off.

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The Crues have been making a habit of scoring late winners this season and again the champions came through a tough encounter with all three points.

A low strike from substitute Cushley flashed past keeper Andy Coleman to keep Stephen Baxter's side on course for a third straight league title.

"David is a great striker of the ball and we needed his goal to get another three points - I think we just about shaded it," said Crusaders keeper Sean O'Neill.

"We have a never-say-die attitude at this club and it is instilled by the manager, who wants 95 minutes from us, not 90."

It was a day of goal celebrations for Linfield in the Portadown fog
It was a day of goal celebrations for Linfield in the Portadown fog

In contrast Linfield strolled to victory at Shamrock Road with Stephen Lowry's ninth-minute opener followed by goals from Paul Smyth, Kirk Millar, Jamie Mulgrew and Mark Stafford.

Ryan Strain should have made it six but he missed a late penalty while Ports are now 13 points adrift at the bottom.

Cliftonville remain just a point behind the Blues with a James Knowles penalty, controversailly awarded for a Kyle Owens handball, putting the Reds in front.

Home comfort

Jude Winchester's close-range finish from David McDaid's cut-back ensured an eighth home league win out of nine.

Glenavon moved up two places to seventh courtesy of Curtis Allen's lob over keeper Aaron Hogg five minutes before the break at the Oval.

Daniel Kelly's double gave Carrick a win which sent them clear of the relegation play-off spot and above Ballinamallard.

The Mallards and Glenavon were left disappointed by the decision to postpone their game, because of a frozen Ferney Park pitch, just 90 minutes before kick-off.

Irish Premiership, 26 November
Ballinamallard UtdOFFGlenavon
Carrick Rangers2-0Coleraine
Cliftonville2-0Ballymena Utd
Dungannon Swifts0-1Crusaders
Glentoran1-0Ards
Portadown0-5Linfield

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