Stephen Baxter's men still have a game in hand and can cut the gap even further, but this result also went a long way to deciding second spot with Linfield now five points off the pace.
It had all started so brightly for the Blues with Peter Thompson going close with a header and Michael Carvill hitting a thumping drive that Crues keeper Lacroix brilliantly pushed behind for a corner.
The Crues had a goal ruled out for offside when Paul Heatly had a shot pushed into the path of Jordan Owens but no sooner had he tapped the ball home the flag went up.
The home side were getting more into the game and struck the front on 23 minutes. It was a superb break by Craig McClean who picked out Owens who had drifted to the edge of the box and he clipped a shot into the top corner of the net for his 12th goal of the league campaign.
Paul Heatly was out of luck on 37 minutes when he connected with a knock down by Owens, the ball smashing off the top of the bar.
Eight minutes later and it was 2-0 as the Linfield back line was ripped apart with Timmy Adamson laying the ball into the path of Declan Caddell who ran on to fire past an exposed Glendinning.
It was to get even worse for the visitors soon after the restart with Owens grabbing his second of the night. Adamson was again the provider when he ran onto a long ball out of defence, he cut it back into the middle for the unmarked Owens and he drilled the ball home on 54 minutes.
The industrious Declan Caddell should have made it 4-0 when he broke clear of the Linfield defence but after doing all the hard work he fired wide of the left hand post.
Linfield kept plugging away and went close to pulling a goal back through Billy Joe Burns and Philip Lowry, but in the end Crusaders were worthy winners and their unbeaten league run this season at Seaview continues.