Clinical Crusaders dismiss Glenavon challenge

Crusaders Timmy Adamson
Crusaders Timmy Adamson

The ‘turf war’ between Glenavon and Crusaders continued after the hosts unceremoniously dumped the Lurgan Blues out of the Irish Cup.

Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton has never been a fan of the Seaview artificial surface and during the week said he would be resting some of his key players to ensure they would be fit for next week’s league game with Lisburn Distillery.

This irked Stephen Baxter, who said Glenavon’s negative attitude had ultimately cost the visitors the game.

“They didn’t help themselves with some of their comments during the week,” he said.

“There has been some great work at Seaview over the years and what has gone on is there for all to see. When people criticise our facilities we don’t take it well.”

All of Crusaders’ goals were scored inside the first half-hour, but in truth the game was over after Timmy Adamson headed the hosts into an early lead before Paul Heatley scored the first of a first-half hat-trick on 12 minutes.

“We put in a professional, clinical performance,” Baxter added. “We played some sublime football and really put them to the sword.

“Glenavon didn’t want to progress, they said that they want to concentrate on the league. We did want to win and I’m very pleased that we did.”

On his hat-trick hero Baxter said: “Paul felt he had let a lot of people down with his sending off in the League Cup final and this was his opportunity to put that right. He’s still working to our style of play after joining from Carrick, but I’m pleased that he took his chances today.”

The striker’s second came on 21 minutes, firing home after McMaster turned on the edge of the box and the Glenavon defence gifted him is hat-trick on 23 minutes, leaving him on his own to turn in a cross past a helpless Andy Coleman.

Glenavon did score late in the first half through former Derry City winger Matthew Rooney, who capitalised on a mistake by Gareth McKeown to slot past Lacroix, and they did rally in the second half although that was probably aided by Crusaders taking their foot off the gas a little, given that the game was over.

“It wasn’t a good start, going a goal down early on, and we had no chance after the second goal,” admitted Glenavon manager Hamilton, who rested himself along with Kris Lindsay and Ciaran Martyn.

“We showed resolved in the second half and I’m pleased with that because in truth it could have been 8-1 at half time. The game was over after 20 minutes in all honesty.

“There are some positives to take though, Grant Gardiner put in a good display and Robbie McDaid, who is in fifth year at school, did exceptionally well when he came on and deserved a goal for his performance.”

Crusaders: Lacroix, McClean, Coates (Gibson 86), Magowan, McKeown, Heatley, Robinson (Morrow 74), Caddell, McMaster, Adamson, Rainey (Owens 74). Unused subs: McBride, Snoddy.

Glenavon: Coleman, Neill, Haughey, McCallion, Brown (Dane 46), Rooney, Gardiner, Kilmartin (Doherty 56), McGrory, Farren, Bates (McDaid 40). Unused subs: Hagan, Turkington.

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)