Irish Premiership: Leaders Ballymena stay two points ahead of Linfield

Ballymena's Steven McCullough and Warrenpoint's Phillip Donnelly

Ballymena United came from a goal down to beat Warrernpoint Town 4-2 and stay two points clear at the top of the Irish Premiership table.

It was United’s eighth league win in a row and keeps them ahead of second-placed Linfield who had an impressive 4-1 victory over champions Crusaders.

Glenavon remain third despite losing 4-2 away to Cliftonville while Coleraine beat bottom team Ards 1-0.

Glentoran drew 3-3 away to Institute while Newry and Dungannon finished 1-1.

Ballymena, with 28 points from a possible 30 before today, had to overcome an early setback as Warrenpoint took a 35th-minute lead through a Robbie Norton penalty.

Two goals by Cathair Friel had David Jeffrey’s men in front by half-time, Adam Lecky made it three and James Knowles drove in a superb fourth before Mark Griffin pulled a late goal back.

“To come off the emotional high of going top last week and win here is tremendous,” said Sky Blues boss Jeffrey.

“I am immensely proud of these players, but the real work starts now because it is even harder to stay there.”

Linfield underlined their determination to regain the title as they completely outplayed the current champions Crusaders at Windsor Park.

Joel Cooper advanced to shoot them into an 11th-minute lead with defender Jimmy Callacher’s downward header quickly making it two.

Former Crues defender Josh Robinson got the third and a superb Jordan Stewart goal made it 4-0 before ex-Blueman Philip Lowry netted for the title holders who have already conceded more points than in the entire previous season.

Cliftonville’s 4-2 win over Glenavon at Solitude lifted them above Crusaders in the table

After Rory Donnelly’s opener for the Reds, Glenavon went 2-1 up through Conor McCloskey and Andrew Mitchell.

Stephen Garrett equalised for Barry Gray’s men who went on to win thanks to goals by Donnelly and Conor McDonald.

Coleraine’s Jamie McGonigle scored the only goal at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds to leave Ards four points adrift at the foot of the table.

Glentoran led three times but Institute hit back to secure a 3-3 draw at the Brandywell.

John Herron and Robbie McDaid (2) were on target for the Glens, but a Dylan Davidson own goal plus Aaron Harkin and Joe McCready scores secured the draw, leaving both teams without a league victory since October.

Visitors Newry took a late lead through skipper Declan Carville at Stangmore Park, but Dungannon grabbed a draw through Paul McElroy.

Danske Bank Premiership
Cliftonville 4-2 Glenavon
Coleraine 1-0 Ards
Dungannon Swifts 1-1 Newry City
Institute 3-3 Glentoran
Linfield 4-1 Crusaders
Warrenpoint Town 2-4 Ballymena Utd
Bluefin Sport Championship
Ballinamallard United 1-2 Loughgall
Ballyclare Comrades 2-2 Dergview
Carrick Rangers 1-4 H&W Welders
Larne 5-0 Dundela
Limavady United 3-4 PSNI
Portadown 4-3 Knockbreda (17:00 GMT)