Dungannon Swifts 2 Cliftonville 2
Ben Kennedy scored twice for Crusaders at Stangemore Park
Crusaders assistant boss Jeff Spiers says Ben Kennedy still has a massive role to play this season.
The forward scored twice - the second arriving in stoppage time - in this incident-packed clash at Dungannon.
They were the 27-year-old’s first goals since October, and marked another step in his Crues’ comeback.
Kennedy had looked to be on his way out of Seaview after being slapped on the transfer list in December.
But he returned last month, and took his chances here.
Dungannon’s Joseph Moore celebrates scoring
Spiers said: “The two goals today show the quality Ben has.
“With the first goal, the ball is played in to his feet and he turns and puts it in the bottom corner. And the second one he comes in and just places it by the ‘keeper.
“He is a quality, quality player and we’re going to need him for the run-in.
“He’s a class act and he’s going to be a big asset for us as we look to get into the play-offs.”
Spiers led from the sidelines with Stephen Baxter serving a four-match touchline ban.
He admitted it had been a strange week, with Baxter announcing he would be stepping down after 19 years in charge at the end of the season.
This marked the start of the long goodbye, and it was a reminder of the demanding, draining nature of top-flight football.
The Crues, for whom Lewis Barr and Jordan Forsythe also excelled, had led through Kennedy’s 28th minute goal.
It came out of nothing as Forsythe cut in and Kennedy picked up the ball, rolled it onto his left foot and swept home a stylish left-foot finish.
But Dungannon came back strongly in the second half, exemplified by a thunderous tackle from Gael Bigirimana on Kennedy, andRead on belfasttelegraph.co.uk