Danny Purkis’ goal for Glenavon marked the first time this season Linfield had conceded first across the Danske Bank Premiership programme.
The defending champions’ ability to regroup from that anomaly, fight back for a ninth victory from 12 fixtures and regain top spot stands as testament to the experience and resolve within David Healy’s squad.
2: Ballymena United
Bringing to an end Larne’s unbeaten start to the Premiership may have grabbed the headlines at Inver Park, however, Ballymena will point to an extension of the club’s own sequence without defeat that now stands at seven fixtures as of greater in-house significance.
That confidence-building form has arrived on a foundation of five clean sheets to signal an impressive response to four consecutive league defeats.
Confirmation Ben Doherty now needs surgery on a broken collar-bone will rob Coleraine of the side’s leading scorer entering a demanding fixture period.
Doherty’s weekend started with a spot on the scoresheet - his 10th of the campaign across 16 appearances - but, regrettably, closed with news the injury sustained following an in-game fall will keep him on the sidelines for an extended period.
A central theme to Crusaders’ sustained success under Stephen Baxter has been the consistency of performance from key established names.
One leading figure, Paul Heatley, offered a reminder of his durability with a weekend hat-trick inside 10 minutes.
However, the introduction of Jack Patterson off the substitutes’ bench presented a glimpse at the Crues’ next generation.
At 15 years old 78 days, the midfielder broke in-house club records and became the second youngest to ever feature in the Irish League.
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