Action at both ends inside the opening two minutes. Glenavon with two corners after Eoin Bradley saw his header from Andy Hall’s cross blocked and a quick Crues break from the second corner. Jonny Tuffey had to be alert to block the ball against Gavin Whyte, the rebound going out for a goal kick.
Kevin Braniff grazed the outside of the post with a 5th minute curling shot from 14 yards after Joel Cooper flicked on Kyle Neill’s throw in.
Tuffey was in the right place to save a well-struck volley from 18 yards by Paul Heatley. Two minutes from the break Tuffey made a brilliant save when Jordan Owens got on the end of a ball over the top from Billy Joe Burns and smashed a volley from just inside the box.
In the 23rd minute Glenavon skipper Kris Lindsay picked up a nasty head injury which bled profusely and required three stitches at half time from Club Doctor Stephen Best after he had been patched up at pitch side by the physio Lyn Carpenter.
After a goalless first half the Champions went ahead four minutes after the break. Whyte crossed to Paul Heatley and his shot was blocked on the line by Rhys Marshall but Matthew Snoddy followed up to smash in the rebound.
Birthday boy James Singleton equalised in the 65th minute when he tapped in a low cross from Andy Hall after brilliant hold up play in the box by Eoin Bradley who then dummied the cross to leave Singleton with a simple finish.
The visitors regained the lead in the 76th minute when Michael Carvill put over a low cross shot which went in off Kyle Neill. Moments earlier a dubious offside decision denied Bradley a clear run on goal.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Marshall, Elebert (McGrory 60), Lindsay(c), Neill (Patton 84), Hall, Kilmartin (Hamilton 87), Singleton, Cooper, Braniff, Bradley. Subs not used: O’Brien, Sykes.
Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Coates (c), Robinson, McClean, Whyte (Carvill 64), Snoddy, Mitchell, Forsythe, Heatley, Owens. Subs not used: Stewart, Molloy, McKibben Vauls
Cautions: Elebert 37, Singleton 45, Kilmartin 73, Owens 90
Referee: Raymond Crangle