Irish Premiership: Ballymena rout Institute to cut gap as Crues beat Warrenpoint

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Scintillating Sky Blues put six past Institute

A superb Ryan Mayse double helped Ballymena United to a 6-1 home rout of Institute to move the Sky Blues to within six points of leaders Linfield.

Mayse struck twice before goals from Albert Watson, Leroy Millar, Adam Lecky and Shane McGinty while Paul Smith got on the scoresheet for Institute.

Third-placed Crusaders fell behind to Lee Duffy's free-kick at Warrenpoint Town but hit back to win 3-1.

Matthew Snoddy and BJ Burns netted before a Simon Kelly own goal.

Having looked second best during the first half at Milltown, Crusaders were much improved in the second period following the introduction of their all-time leading goalscorer Jordan Owens.

Snoddy cleared Conall McGrandles' header off the line before Duffy's low free-kick beat Sean O'Neill at his near post to give Point the lead on the stroke of half-time.

The Crues re-emerged for the second half five minutes before their opponents and looked much more threatening with Owens working as the target man.

Snoddy slammed home from close range just two minutes before Burns sent a wonderful half-volley into the far corner.

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A second half comeback from Crusaders secures a 3-1 win at Milltown.

Kelly then headed Owens' effort into his own net as the Crues completed the turnaround.

Owens passed up a golden late opportunity to put his own name on the scoresheet but blazed over from close range having latched onto Philip Lowry's ball across goal.

It could have been a different story at the Showgrounds if Aaron Jarvis had converted a fourth-minute penalty, awarded for handball.

But an excellent save from United keeper Ross Glendinning denied the north-west visitors as the Sky Blues bounced back from Saturday's defeat by Glentoran with a brilliant display.

Mayse was the star performer with his opener a 25-yard cracker into the top corner and it was was soon followed by the midfielder rifling into the roof of the net.

Leroy Millar raises a fist to celebrate after scoring Ballymena's fourth goal against Institute
Leroy Millar raises a fist to celebrate after scoring Ballymena's fourth goal against Institute

Watson fired into the bottom corner from a Mayse cross to make it three before Millar's glancing header, from Tony Kane's inswinging corner, gave the hosts a 4-0 advantage at the break.

Smith gave Institute a glimmer of hope with a curling finish beyond Glendinning but Ballymena were soon back in control.

Lecky tapped in from Mayse's pinpoint cross to the back-post and substitute McGinty completed the rout with a powerful shot which deflected off Institute's Shaun Leppard before flying in.

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