COLERAINE 0 CRUSADERS 2
Two controversial penalty decisions gave Crusaders the spoils at Coleraine.
The league leaders were awarded spot kicks in either half, which Billy Joe Burns slotted home to grab another win in their title defence.
The home side can feel hard done by, especially after palying with 10 men for over 50 minutes.
Coleraine made a great start to the game forcing the league leaders on to the back foot from the kick off.
Sammy Morrow’s header from Ruaidhri Higgins’ cross in the first minute forced Sean O’Neill into action.
The keeper could only watch on two minutes later as Darren McCauley’s well struck shot clipped the bar.
It took the visitors until midway through the half before they managed to get an effort on goal as Jordan Owens directed a header straight at debutant Chris Johns in the home goal.
Owens’ teed up a chance for Michael Carvill on 26 minutes which struck the bar with Johns beaten.
Stephen Baxter’s side were on the front foot now and only a fantastic save by Johns on 31 minutes prevented Matthew Snoddy from making it 1-0 in spectacular fashion.
From the resulting corner Owens proved to be a menace again losing his marker before heading past Johns, Ruairi Harkin was well positioned though to head off the line.
Johns was at it again pulling off a triple save to deny Carvill and Heatley in quick succession as half time approached.
With half time approaching Crusaders finally broke the deadlock in somewhat controversial circumstances.
The officials pointed to the spot after Heatley was brought down by Johnny Watt as he raced on to Robinson’s through ball.
On closer inspection though it looked as though the contact came outside the box.
Not that it worried Billy Joe Burns who slotted low past Johns from the spot after Watt had been shown a second yellow card.
The second half was largely uneventful until anhother controversial decision with 17 minutes to go.
Chris Johns came and collected a cross into the box, but to the bemusement of everyone referee Raymond Crangle pointed to the spot citing a push by David Ogilby on Owens.
Billy Joe Burns stepped up and slotted in again.
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Edgar, Beverland, Watt, Higgins, Harkin, Lyons (Ogilby 43), Morrow (McGonigle 67), Brown (McCafferty 84), McCauley.
Subs: McLaughlin, Parkhill.
Sent Off: Watt (40)
Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, McClean, Coates, Robinson, Snoddy, Caddell, Forsythe (Whyte 65), Carvill (Clarke 90), Heatley (O’Carroll 85), Owens.
Subs: Magowan, Mitchell.