Irish Premiership: Crusaders clinch comeback win to stay top

Jordan Owens heads double as leaders Crusaders beat Cliftonville

Premiership leaders Crusaders fought back to beat Cliftonville 3-2 while Linfield remain a point behind by defeating Ballymena 2-0.

The Crues trailed 2-1 before a Jordan Owens double secured a vital win while Jimmy Callacher and Andrew Waterworth were on target for Linfield.

Portadown have been given another relegation reprieve after Carrick's 2-2 draw with Ards.

Dungannon Swifts beat Glentoran 2-1 while Coleraine and Glenavon drew 1-1.

Relive Saturday's Premiership action

Michael Carvill bundled home to give Crusaders a first-half lead in the north Belfast derby at Solitude.

Levi Ives fired in two crackers either side of half-time to put the Reds in front but the Crues showed the grit of champions by fighting their way to three points.

Joy for Jordan

Owens won it for the visitors with two trademark headers, the first from a pinpoint Paul Heatley cross, although it required a superb double-save from Sean O'Neill to deny the Reds a late equaliser.

"My heart rate wasn't good watching that in the second-half, I can tell you that," said Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter.

"It was tough viewing but I thought we gave a stunning performance and definitely showed our never-say-die attitude.

"Jordan Owens has struggled to be fit for this game but he's delivered with two massively important goals for us."

"The title race is far from over and I've said that time and timer again. Linfield are a top team but we just have to keep focusing on what we're doing."

Just three games remain for Linfield to overhaul the leaders but they kept the pressure on with a comfortable win at the Showgrounds.

Jimmy Callacher headed the Belfast Blues into an early lead and Andrew Waterworth fired in with two minutes left to seal the points.

Jimmy Callacher celebrates scoring Linfield's opener at Ballymena
Jimmy Callacher celebrates scoring Linfield's opener at the Ballymena Showgrounds

Carrick fought back from 2-0 down to draw with Ards but it confirms a bottom-two finish and keeps Portadown's hopes of avoiding automatic relegation alive.

Guillaume Keke's double put Ards in control but Martin Murray smashed in before Paddy McNally headed home an equaliser before the break.

Fra Brennan headed into his own goal to gift Glentoran the lead at Stangmore Park before the Swifts levelled with Chris Hegarty heading in from Jarlath O'Rourke's corner.

Jamie Glackin's classy late lob won it for Dungannon and they move three points clear in seventh and on course for a Europa League play-off place.

Coleraine are also on track for the Europa League by finishing third, although they conceded a late leveller at the Showgrounds.

Darren McCauley gave the hosts the lead with a back post volley before James Singleton headed home for Glenavon.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership
Ballymena United0-2Linfield
Carrick Rangers2-2Ards
Dungannon Swifts2-1Glentoran