Crusaders go seven points clear at top of Danske Bank Premiership

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Crues' Gavin Whyte celebrating after scoring

Linfield meanwhile were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Glentoran

Crusaders have moved seven points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership after they thrashed Cliftonville 4-0 in the north Belfast Boxing Day derby - and closest rivals Linfield were held to a one-all draw by 10-man Glentoran.

Jordan Owens, Howard Beverland, Gavin Whyte and Declan Caddell scored for the defending champions in a stroll at Solitude.

Crues keeper Sean O'Neill saved a penalty from Stephen Garrett and Reds sub Jay Donnelly was dismissed in the last minute for a poor challenge.  

The Big Two derby at Windsor Park was a tighter affair with Mark Haughey giving Linfield the lead, before Aaron Harmon equalised and Glens skipper Stephen McAlorum was sent off for a late tackle.

Blues boss David Healy admits it was bitterly disappointing to drop points against the old enemy.

And ahead of this Saturday's top-of-the-table clash with Crusaders at Seaview, Healy says he blames himself for Linfield's continued failure to win crunch matches.

Glens manager Gary Haveron says Nacho Novo could have won it for his team late on at Windsor - and he feels they should have had a penalty for a foul by another ex-Rangers player, Blues keeper Roy Carroll.

Meanwhile, Haveron was full of praise for the big travelling support.

Ballymena United beat Coleraine 2-0 at Warden Street with Cathair Friel and Tony Kane again scoring for the Sky Blues.

Glenavon fought back from 2-0 down to grab a two-all draw against Portadown at Shamrock Park.

Dungannon Swifts moved above the Lurgan Blues into sixth place on goal difference with a 3-2 home win over Ballinamallard.

The league's top scorer Andrew Mitchell struck twice for the Swifts including an 87th-minute winner, his 16th Premiership goal of the season.

In the other Boxing Day fixture, Carrick and Ards drew one-each at Taylor's Avenue. 

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