Irate Ards boss Niall Currie took a swipe at referee Andrew Davey over his handling of this NI Premiership clash at Seaview.
The Bangor whistler not only awarded Crusaders an early penalty, but refused to let defender Greg Hall receive treatment for what transpired to be a ‘serious eye injury’ in the incident that led to Chris Morrow’s spot kick opener.
Hall was duly forced to leave the pitch before being rushed to hospital, with a suspected detached retina.
“He was taken to hospital right away,” fumed Currie. “I had a word with Andrew (Davey) coming off at the end.
“ If I’m not mistaken, he refused the player treatment. Greg was actually quite dazed, but was forced to get up on his feet to allow the penalty to be taken.
“To me it was a head injury . . . a very serious head injury. I’m extremely disappointed the way the situation was dealt with by the officials.
“It was a real shocker as far as I’m concerned. Our medical team’s initial diagnosed was a detached retina.
“It was clear from where I was standing the ball hit him (Hall) flush in the face. To make matters worse, the referee wouldn’t let Greg receive treatment. He had to wait until the penalty kick was taken, which is a disgrace.”
With Hall off the pitch, the Crues struck again two minutes later when Timmy Adamson tapped home a Jordan Owens cross.
Paul Heatley struck the goal of the game five minutes before the break following a magical 40 yard solo dash.
Craig McMillan reduced the deficit before substitute Gary McCutcheon stroked home Crusaders’ fourth five minutes form time.
Ross Arthurs last gasp effort for Ards put a respectable appearance to the score.
“This is a tough enough place to come - Crusaders are a top team, but when decisions go against you after three or four minutes, it makes it even more difficult,” added Currie.
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter admitted he ‘had a go’ at his team at half-time, even though they were three in front.
“I simply wanted to emphasise to them the game wasn’t over,” he said. “Certainly, our first half performance was clinical . . . we could have been four or five up. It should have been done and dusted.
“Big Jordan (Owens) missed one and, had he scored, it would have been the goal of the season because we produced a scintillating move down the left, all one-touch football.”