Irish Premiership: Coleraine fight back to beat Carrick and move top

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Irish Premiership highlights: Bannsiders beat Carrick to regain top spot

Josh Carson scored twice as Coleraine came from a goal down to beat Carrick Rangers 3-2 and move one point ahead of Crusaders at the top of the table.

The Crues could move back to the summit when they play Warrenpoint on Monday.

Ballymena beat Glentoran 2-1 as the Sky Blues put themselves in with a good chance of moving into the top six.

Jay Donnelly bagged a hat-trick as Cliftonville beat Ards 3-0, 10-man Ballinamallard drew 2-2 with Linfield and Dungannon Swifts beat Glenavon 3-2.

Re-live all Friday night's Premiership action as it unfolded

Bannsiders battle back against Carrick

Coleraine looked to be in danger of suffering just a second league defeat of the season when Carrick went in at half-time a goal to the good at Ballycastle Road thanks to Darren Henderson's 37th-minute goal.

Burns had squandered a good chance to put the hosts in front when he saw his penalty saved by Harry Doherty but Carson drew the Bannsiders level soon after the interval and Burns made amends by netting Coleraine's second.

Carson grabbed his second with seven minutes remaining, before Michael Smith pulled one back for the battling visitors.

Third-placed Glenavon saw their lead over Linfield reduced to three points as an injury-time haeder by Seanan Clucas earned Dungannon Swifts victory in the mid-Ulster derby.

Daniel Hughes gave the Swifts a 1-0 half-time advantage and the ex-Cliftonville striker doubled the home side's lead from the penalty spot, but Robbie Norton's 75th-minute goal and a well-struck Sammy Clingan free-kick restored parity.

There was late drama too at Ferney Park as Sean Noble struck a 90th-minute equaliser to secure a potentially precious point for basement side Ballinamallard.

Ryan Curran nudged the Fermanagh side in front in the 57th minute, Mark Stafford nodded home to equalise on 71 and Andrew Waterworth made it 2-1 to the Blues after 79.

Mallards substitute Josh McIlwaine was sent-off for a late challenge on Niall Quinn minutes after being introduced from the bench but Noble rescued a point for Harry McConkey's men, who now trail Carrick by five points.

Jay Donnelly's hat-trick gave Cliftonville their 3-0 win over Ards
Jay Donnelly's hat-trick gave Cliftonville their 3-0 win over Ards

Cliftonville, who lie fifth, moved to within two points of Linfield above them thanks to Donnelly's treble, one goal coming in the first half and two in the second.

A win over Ballinamallard in Monday's rearranged game will be enough for Ballymena to clinch a spot in the top six ahead of the league split after David Jeffrey's charges defeated Glentoran in the Premiership for the first time this season.

Cathair Friel fired in the opener in the first half, Curtis Allen tapped in the equaliser for his 21st goal of the season after the break and then Kofi Balmer rifled home a volley to seal the three points for the Braidmen.

Willie Garrett was sent-off late on as the Glens lost in the league for the first time since Ronnie McFall took over the managerial reins at the Oval from Gary Haveron.

The east Belfast outfit are now one point ahead of Ballymena.

Danske Bank Premiership - Friday 23 March - Results
Ballinamallard Utd2-2Linfield
Cliftonville3-0Ards
Coleraine3-2Carrick Rangers
Dungannon Swifts3-2Glenavon
Glentoran1-2Ballymena Utd