IRISH LEAGUE: Stalemate for Linfield and Crusaders

Press Eye - Belfast -  Northern Ireland - 29th October 2016 - Photo by William Cherry  Linfield and Crusaders players clash during Saturday's Danske Bank Premiership game at Windsor Park. Photo William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 29th October 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield and Crusaders players clash during Saturday's Danske Bank Premiership game at Windsor Park. Photo William Cherry/Presseye

Linfield 0 Crusaders 0

It was billed as a big two shootout even but with Hallowe’en pending the touch paper failed to ignite.

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter, who was dismissed in injury time for speaking out of turn, will be the happier of the two managers -- his team still hold a four point lead at the top of the Danske Premiership table.

Blues boss David Healy made two changes from the team that defeated Clifotnville in the Shield in midweek, with Roy Carroll taking over from Gareth Deane in goals and Jimmy Callacher replacing Chris Casement in defence.

Baxter fielded a team laced with Under-20 players in their Shield win over Glentoran. Richard Clarke was the only as the Crues chief reinstated all his big guns.

Linfield who the early questions with Sammy Clingan firing a free kick inches past the post after Jamie Mulgrew was fouled.

Clingan then blasted another free kick int the Crusaders ‘wall’ after Andy Waterworth was hauled down by Richard Clarke.

Crusaders almost achieve the breakthrough on 27 minutes. Billy Joe Burns, playing on the left, whipped in a great cross that was picked up by Paul Heatley, but his drive left the crossbar trembling.

Then Jordan Forsythe drilled in a great cross from the right which was flicked on by Declan Caddell for Burns to volley over the top.

With the clock ticking down, Baxter was sent off for a comment to referee Andrew Davey.

Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, Clingan, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth, Millar (Smyth 68), Ward, M Clarke, Mulgrew, Gaynor (R Clarke 79).

Unused subs: Lowry, Casement, Quinn.

Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates, Mitchell, Caddell (Carvill 89), Forsythe, Owens, Clarke (Gault 89), Heatley, Whyte.

Unused subs: Cushley, Dougherty, McClean.

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor).