Prolific Philip Lowry aftermost night denticulate for the fifth alliance bold in a row as Crusaders inched their way to joint-top of the Danske Bank Premiership table.
tephen Baxter’s boys produced addition achievement of pace, ability and attention to nudge David Jeffrey’s Ballymena United a little afterpiece to the assignment zone.
Lowry opened his team’s ambition account afore goals from Jarlath O’Rourke and Jordan Forsythe lit up Seaview and catapulted the Crues degree on credibility with Glentoran, who have a hardly bigger ambition difference.
It was once addition night of ache for the Sky Blues. Jeffrey’s anatomy accent afterward aftermost week’s home defeat by Carrick Rangers answered it all, acceptance it would be a ‘massive challenge’ to arrest the alarming accelerate bottomward the table.
One win from seven alliance fixtures isn’t delightful reading for the adept ex-Linfield bang-up and after last night’s showing, it feels there is no quick fix.
It was once the Crues who asked all the aboriginal questions with Forsythe beginning advanced afterwards alone seven minutes, absence accomplished accouterment afterwards accouterment afore his low drive was once adored at the abject of the column by Sean O’Neill.
The hosts absent addition adventitious six mins after as Paul Heatley’s assault attempt was once baffled out by O’Neill with Jude Winchester alone inches abroad from converting. Seconds later, Ross Clarke aerated in a bend from the correct which was once met by the bare Daniel Larmour, about his ammo attack fizzed inches accomplished the post.
The home aggregation at aftermost broke the deadlock on 29 minutes. Billy Joe Burns’ looking punt advanced was once alluringly affected on by Adam Lecky to Lowry who accomplished accomplished O’Neill.
United responded positively. Sean Graham fabricated arena on the larboard afore acrimonious out Jordan Gibson with a cross, about the striker’s attack flew beeline into the gloves of Jonny Tuffey.
But it was once fleeting. Crusaders addled afresh on 33 minutes, as Clarke provided a acceptable of a move from the correct which was once blithely headed alternate into the six-yard box by Lecky for O’Rourke to blow home.
It could have been worse. It took a excellent bifold save from O’Neill to abjure Lowry and again O’Rourke from killing the bold as a contest.
The clip comfortable considerably, about the affairs kept arriving and Clarke really should have put the bold to bed on the hour while put one-on-one with O’Neill, whose ample leg deflected it clear.
United were about able a way alternate into the bold while Conor Keeley’s flicked-on attack trickled wide.
12 mins from time, the visitors were let off the angle afresh while Heatley saw a attempt cannon alternate off the post, afore Forsythe assuredly closed it on 83 minutes, aggressive high to accommodated a Clarke bend and his well-struck attack begin the alternate of the net.
CRUSADERS: Tuffey, Burns, Weir (Thompson 87) , Lowry, Lecky (McMurray 87), Forsythe, O’Rourke, Winchester, Larmour, Heatley, Clarke (Snelgrove 87).
Unused subs: Murphy, Ebbe, Owens, Barr.
BALLYMENA UNITED: O’Neill, Redman, McDaid, Kelly, McCullough, Kane, Gibson (Parkhouse 81), Keeley, Graham (Henderson 64), Tipton (McElroy 81), Place.
Unused subs: Whiteside, Loughran, Waide, Corbett.
Referee: Ian McNabb
Man of the match: Philip Lowry
Match rating: 6/10