Crusaders 3 Dungannon Swifts 1
Champions Crusaders came from behind to claim a hard-fought win over Dungannon.
Two late goals from Paul Heatley ended the Swifts’ five-match unbeaten run.
The Tyrone side had led through Seanan Clucas’s 30th minute strike, but their lead was quickly wiped out by Gavin Whyte’s penalty.
Heatley then scored twice in the final 12 minutes to maintain the Crues’ strong start to the campaign.
Crusaders could have been two up in the opening minutes, with Jordan Owens spurning two great chances.
Dungannon took the lead in the 30th minute.
Michael Gault was caught in possession and Paul McElroy broke forward before crossing to Clucas, who finished coolly.
But the Swifts’ lead lasted just two minutes as the Crues hit back immediately.
Matt Hazley struck out a leg to bring down Whyte, resulting in a penalty. The midfielder recovered to take the kick, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Crusaders could have gone ahead in first half stoppage time, but Michael Gault’s strike was headed off the line.
The goalmouth action somewhat dried up at the start of the second half.
Heatley had a chance after being teed up by a terrific Declan Caddell cross, but lifted his attempt over.
Then a terrific run from Whyte ended with a shot which cannoned off the crossbar.
The Crues’ pressure was rewarded in the 78th minute when another terrific cross from Billy-Joe Burns picked out Heatley, who slotted home.
Heatley wrapped up the points with a fine finish to make it 3-1 in the 89th minute.
CRUSADERS: O’Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates, McClean, Caddell (Carvill, 90), Gault, Whyte, Heatley, Lowry (Forsythe, 63), Owens
Subs not used: Mitchell, Holden, Clarke
DGN SWIFTS: Coleman, Lowe (Burke, 53), Hegarty, Armstrong, Wilson (Fitzpatrick, 87), Clucas, Harpur, Hazley, Glackin, McElroy (Teggart, 68), Mitchell
Subs not used: Addis, McCashin
Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)