Irish Premiership: Crues go top as Glens lose to Larne and Linfield put eight past 10-man Glenavon

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Linfield score eight against Glenavon in Windsor rout

Linfield hammered 10-man Glenavon 8-1 while Crusaders are the new Premiership leaders thanks to a 2-0 victory over Ballymena United.

Glentoran, who were top going into Saturday's games, lost 2-1 to Larne in the late kick-off to end their 15-game unbeaten run in the league.

Warrenpoint defeated Carrick 2-1 while Dungannon overcame Institute 2-0.

The Blues were 3-0 in front when Lurgan Blues midfielder Robbie Garrett was sent-off for dissent in the first half.

Declan Caddell and Ross Clarke netted as the Crues beat Ballymena.

Larne strike late to beat Glens

Andy Mitchell
Andy Mitchell made his Larne debut in the win over Glentoran after signing from Linfield

Larne's 2-1 win at Inver Park was secured by a goal from Johnny McMurray in the 91st minute, with the striker having to be stretchered off after scoring.

A Tomas Cosgrove cross into the box was punched clear by visiting keeper Marijan Antolovic and straight into the face of the inrushing McMurray, with the ball rebounding into the net.

In a high-tempo game that kicked off at 17:30, the hosts were on top throughout the first half and came close to opening the scoring through McMurray and Dean Jarvis.

The Glens took the lead when Larne skipper Albert Watson and Paul O'Neill challenged in the air for a cross, and it looked like Watson steered the ball into his own net.

The lead only lasted five minutes as McMurray made a surging run through the middle and slipped a pass to Lee Lynch, who applied a smart finish past Antolovic.

Powerful finish

Dungannon put some ground between themselves and the relegation battle with a well-deserved win at Stangmore Park.

In a first half of few chances, Dungannon went close when Rhyss Campbell dispossessed Institute full-back Colm McLaughlin before cutting the ball back for the in-rushing Terry Fitzpatrick but the veteran midfielder's shot lacked the power to beat Rory Brown.

The deadlock was eventually broken on 61 minutes when defender Dylan King met Caolan McAleer's outswinging corner with a thumping header.

The impressive McAleer was also involved in Swifts' second goal on 72 minutes when he burst into the penalty area but was halted by Stute defender Conor Tourish.

Skipper Douglas Wilson beat Rory Brown from the penalty spot to wrap up a much-needed win for Dungannon.

Warrenpoint moved off the bottom of the table in dramatic fashion after scoring twice in stoppage time to beat Carrick at Taylor's Avenue.

Caolan Loughran's first-half penalty looked to have given Carrick all three points, but Alan O'Sullivan levelled from the spot before new signing Ryan Swan headed a last-gasp winner for Barry Gray's side.

Warrenpoint clinch a last-gasp victory over Carrick to move the Premiership basement
Warrenpoint clinch a last-gasp victory over Carrick to move the Premiership basement

Although Carrick started brightly, it was Warrenpoint who should have netted the opener when Swan found O'Sullivan in behind the home side's defence, only for Point's top-scorer to drag his shot wide.

Carrick took the lead after 20 minutes in controversial fashion when Eamon Scannell was penalised for using his arm to dispossess Stewart Nixon.

Referee Lee Tavinder did not award the penalty but was overruled by his assistant and Loughran made no mistake from 12 yards.

Niall Currie's men looked to have done enough to back up last week's win over Cliftonville with another three points only to collapse in added time.

First, O'Sullivan levelled from the spot after Daniel Magill had fouled Daniel Wallace before Swan headed in the winner with just seconds remaining to give Warrenpoint a crucial win and move them above Institute and off bottom spot for the first time this season.

Early errors

Crusaders overcome a battling Sky Blues side at Seaview although Philip Lowry missed two guilt-edged chances in the first five minutes as the hosts came firing out of the blocks.

The game struggled to get into any sort of rhythm, with Stephen Baxter's men having plenty of possession with little end product, before Josh Kelly missed a glorious chance of the stroke of half-time when he fired wide from the penalty spot with the goal gaping.

Kelly failed to hit the target again after showing good feet in the area after the restart, with Crues keeper Gerard Doherty tipping Andy McGrory's effort onto the post with a fantastic save shortly after as Ballymena impressed on David Jeffrey's 200th appearance as United boss.

However, the Braidmen were punished for failing to take their chances when Caddell headed home Jordan Forsythe's inch-perfect cross on 71 minutes.

Crues midfielder Declan Caddell runs away in delight after netting the opener against Ballymena
Crues midfielder Declan Caddell runs away in delight after netting the opener against Ballymena

The Crues were in control from that point on, with Clarke's superb 25-yard free-kick wrapping up the three points with five minutes to go.

Linfield got back to winning ways in the league with a thumping victory at Windsor Park.

Having beaten the Lurgan Blues 7-0 at home earlier in the season, Stephen Fallon began the scoring in the sixth minute when he lashed home a good finish as the hosts counter-attacked superbly after defending a corner.

Controversy surrounded the title holders' second goal, scored by Kirk Millar from the penalty spot, on nine minutes.

Glenavon unhappy

There were two balls on the pitch as a corner was taken just before the penalty decision, with a ball-boy retrieving it while play continued before the visitors claimed Matthew Snoddy's challenge on Fallon was outside the box.

Joel Cooper cut inside to make it three with a curler before visiting midfielder Garrett was shown a straight red card for dissent after a Kirk Millar challenge on Jordan Jenkins went unpunished.

Shayne Lavery glanced in a header from a corner and Matthew Clarke scored from close-range before a Sammy Clingan penalty made it 5-1 to the hosts at the break.

Linfield, who gave a debut to loan signing Rory Currie from the bench, continued their dominance in the second half as a Jordan Stewart penalty and goals from Cooper and Jimmy Callacher completed the rout.

Irish Premiership - Saturday, 25 January
Carrick Rangers1-2Warrenpoint Town
Crusaders2-0Ballymena United
Dungannon Swifts2-0Institute
Linfield8-1Glenavon
Larne2-1Glentoran (17:30 GMT)