Kym Nelson struck the winner from the sting of the realm at Seaview
Crusaders missed the chance to go joint-second within the Irish Premiership as they had been overwhelmed 1-0 at residence by Ballymena United at Seaview.
Kym Nelson’s excellent late strike was sufficient to settle a low-key recreation.
The victory lifts Ballymena again above Newry Metropolis into ninth place within the desk.
Crusaders’ first residence league defeat of the marketing campaign means they keep in fourth place, six factors behind leaders Larne.
Ballymena made a vibrant begin and got here near opening the scoring on 14 minutes when Ross Redman’s in-swinging free kick was solely half-cleared by the Crusaders defence so far as Josh Kelly, whose 20-yard shot fizzed via a ruck of gamers and narrowly huge.
Ballymena once more threatened as Mikey Place’s cross from the appropriate was met by the on-rushing Nelson however the midfielder was unable to maintain his effort down.
Crusaders’ first significant probability got here when McCauley Snelgrove collected Jonny Tuffey’s lengthy clearance and a stunning first contact put him in on aim, however his shot lacked energy and United keeper Sean O’Neill was in a position to comfortably save.
The Hull Metropolis loanee once more threatened for the house facet on 36 minutes when he lower inside onto his favoured left foot however his curling drive went simply the fallacious facet of the submit.
Crusaders virtually broke the impasse on the hour mark when Jordan Forsythe’s inviting cross was met by the pinnacle of Adam Lecky however the striker’s highly effective effort crashed off the crossbar.
With the sport wanting as if it would head in the direction of a scoreless stalemate, Ballymena struck a decisive blow with 10 minutes left.
Redman’s cross from the left was half-headed clear by Philip Lowry to Nelson simply exterior the penalty space, and he took a contact earlier than steering a low volley past Tuffey.
Crusaders missed an excellent probability to equalise within the closing minutes when Billy Joe Burns’ low cross from the appropriate was met by Lowry and when his effort got here off the legs of O’Neill, Jarlath O’Rourke blazed the rebound over.