Irish Premiership: Heatley hat-trick as Crusaders regain top spot

Paul Heatley's three goals took his tally for the season to 18
Paul Heatley's three goals took his tally for the season to 18

Paul Heatley scored a hat-trick as Crusaders moved back to the top of the Irish Premiership by winning 4-1 away to Warrenpoint Town on Monday night.

Former Town striker Darren Murray netted the other while Warrenpoint substitute TJ Murray got a goal back near the end of the match.

Crusaders are two points ahead of title rivals Coleraine with five games left.

In Monday's other league game Ballymena United secured a top six finish by beating Ballinamallard United 2-0.

Teenager Matthew Shevlin got both goals inside the opening quarter of an hour at the Showgrounds.

The win means Ballymena move above Glentoran and will play the top five in the table in their remaining fixtures.

The Glens, on the other hand, will finish the campaign playing against the bottom five teams.

Irish Premiership: Ballymena United 2-0 Ballinamallard United

Ballymena took the lead in the seventh minute when Shevlin fired in from six yards after Tony Kane's free-kick was palmed out by keeper Richard Brush.

Shevlin got his and Ballymena's second on the quarter hour, picking the ball up on halfway and going to to net a low shot from about 12 yards.

Crusaders went into their match at Milltown without six first team players but proved they have a strong enough squad to cope.

Heatley ran onto a long ball to lift a skilful volley over home keeper Jonathan Parr in the 30th minute.

Darren Murray, who signed for the Crues in January but is still Warrenpoint's leading scorer for the season, fired in the second from just inside the box five minutes after the restart.

Jamie Glackin then rounded keeper Parr and set up Heatley to make it 3-0 in the 70th minute.

Just two minutes later Heatley headed in from a Glackin free-kick with TJ Murray getting Town's late consolation.