Crues top but boss says there's a long road ahead - with five teams still in the title mix

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Ballinamallard against Crusaders. Image courtesy NIFL.

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Crusaders have moved to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership after a 3-0 win against bottom club Ballinamallard at Ferney Park on Monday.

The victory came courtesy of stunning second-half strikes from Jordan Forsythe and Billy Joe Burns, either side of a Matthew Smyth own goal.

The Shore Road side are now a point clear of Coleraine, whose scheduled New Year's Day clash with Linfield at the Showgrounds was postponed.

However, Crues boss Stephen Baxter says he knows from experience there's a long way to go...

He insists it's not just a two-horse, Crues-Coleraine race for the title, saying Linfield and others are still very much in the mix...

Carrick's home game against Dungannon Swifts on Monday was also called off due to an unplayable pitch.

Storm Eleanor wiped out the Tuesday night fixtures with all three games abandoned.

NIFL issued a statement: 

"Tonight's three scheduled Danske Bank Premiership games have been abandoned on the grounds of the health and safety and wellbeing of players and supporters due to the adverse weather conditions.

"The games at Solitude and The Oval, (Cliftonville v. Ballymena United and Glentoran v. Warrenpoint Town) were called off at half-time while, at the Bangor Fuels Arena, the Ards v. Glenavon game carried on to the 51st minute.

"New dates for each game will be announced in due course."


Linfield have signed French striker Achille Campion on loan from Cork City until the end of the season. 

The 27-year-old helped Cork to the double last year, scoring in the cup final. 

Crusaders have boosted their title challenge by signing 26-year-old midfielder Jonny Bonner from Finn Harps.

Forward Stephen Murray has moved from Warrenpoint to Glenavon while Cliftonville have snapped up former Point and Dundalk midfielder Conor McDonald, who's been playing in the States.

Striker Stephen O'Flynn is leaving Donegal Celtic, going back to one of his former clubs, Ballinamallard.

Mallards boss Gavin Dykes is also bringing in full-back Michael Kerr on loan from the Crues. 

Glentoran centre-back Calum Birney has signed an extension to his current contract, keeping him with the east Belfast club until the end of the 2020/21 season.

Ards have announced Carl McComb has been released from his contract by mutual agreement. 

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