Irish Premiership: Coleraine maintain six-point advantage

Brad Lyons of Coleraine celebrates his goal against Carrick Rangers
Brad Lyons scored just seven weeks after sustaining serious facial injuries

Irish Premiership pacesetters Coleraine won 3-1 away to Carrick Rangers to maintain their six-point lead at the top of the table.

Ciaron Harkin, Brad Lyons and Jamie McGonigle got the Bannsiders' goals.

Second-placed Crusaders stayed in front of Glenavon on goal difference as Jordan Forsythe scored the only goal of their match at home to Glentoran.

Ten-man Glenavon won 2-0 away to Ards, Linfield edged Dungannon Swifts 1-0 and Cliftonville beat Warrenpoint Town 3-1.

Ballymena United were made to fight all the way for a 2-1 home success over bottom-placed Ballinamallard United.

Relive all the drama from the Irish Premiership

Harkin may have given Coleraine an early lead at Carrick, but all the headlines will go to Lyons whose goal put Coleraine 2-1 up in first-half stoppage time.

That came after Mark Edgar's free-kick equaliser for Rangers, with McGonigle getting Coleraine's third.

Crusaders defender Howard Beverland was sent-off in the 1-0 win over Glentoran
Crusaders defender Howard Beverland was sent-off in the 1-0 win over Glentoran

Last week Lyons returned to action just six weeks after sustaining serious facial injuries in a match against Linfield which resulted in him breaking both cheekbones and his nose, and having four plates and three screws inserted in his face.

The 20-year-old has been wearing a specially-made carbon fibre protective mask, which has led to him earning a few new nicknames.

"The Coleraine fans are calling me Zorro and I've had Bradman and Phantom of the Opera as well, but I don't mind a bit as the mask has helped me get back playing," said Lyons.

"Six weeks was tough, just sitting there, not being able to play, but I worked hard to keep fit.

"I got a goal and a couple of assists, so that is not bad."

Crusaders shaded a tight and sometimes fiery match against Glentoran thanks to a fine side-foot 53rd-minute finish by midfielder Forsythe.

Andrew Waterworth's 67th-minute goal gave Linfield victory over Dungannon Swifts
Andrew Waterworth's 67th-minute goal gave Linfield victory over Dungannon Swifts

But the Crues had Howard Beverland sent-off on 76 minutes when he got a second booking for trying to stop the Glens taking a quick free-kick.

Late goals by Adam Foley and Mark Sykes gave third-placed Glenavon a 2-0 win away to Ards.

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton was ordered from the dug-out early on, and defender Andrew Doyle was sent-off before the break for a second yellow card offence.

Ards defender Johnny Taylor got a late red card as he took picked up a second booking.

Cliftonville made it six league wins in a row as Joe Gormley, Rory Donnelly and Jay Donnelly goals gave them a 3-1 success at Warrenpoint.

Linfield striker Andrew Waterworth's 67th-minute header was the only goal of the game against Dungannon Swifts at Windsor Park.

A Tony Kane penalty and Cathair Friel's 57th-minute strike was just about enough to see off bottom club Ballinamallard who gave themselves hope when Gary Armstrong netted 10 minutes from time.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership
Ballymena United2-1Ballinamallard United
Carrick Rangers1-3Coleraine
Linfield1-0Dungannon Swifts
Warrenpoint Town1-3Cliftonville
Bluefin Sport Championship
Lurgan Celtic1-1Portadown
PSNI1-1H&W Welders
Ballyclare Comrades2-1 Limavady United
Dergview2-2Newry City