Crusaders boss Baxter rues missed opportunity

Warrenpoint's Mark Hughes  in action with Crusaders' David Magowan
Warrenpoint's Mark Hughes in action with Crusaders' David Magowan

It was a case of missed opportunities for Stephen Baxter as Crusaders were held to a draw by 10-man Warrenpoint Town on Saturday.

Paul Heatley put the visitors in front early on and they should have gone further ahead a few minutes after half-time when Declan Caddell opted to square the ball when he could have shot whilst through on goal.

The glaring miss allowed Warrenpoint, who saw Darren King harshly dismissed before the hour, to get back into the game.

And they levelled through a fine Marty Havern strike that bore plenty of resemblance to Heatley’s opener.

“The big mistake from our point of view was not scoring the goal when Declan goes through and should slide a simple pass and the game is over,” admitted Baxter.

“You don’t miss chances like that at this level of football and for whatever reason, when it went to ten men, it galvanised Warrenpoint and their two forwards were clever and got the ball into feet and held it up well on a very difficult day.

“We’re very disappointed not to come away with maximum points. We were well in control of the game to not go up the road with three points beggars belief.”

After Heatley’s opener Crusaders gained a numerical advantage when King was adjudged to have fouled Heatley and received a second yellow card.

But Havern equalised with a goal that was almost identical to Heatley’s opener when he fired past Sean O’Neill from 18 yards with the pitch resembling something like a muddy field at that stage.

Warrenpoint boss Barry Gray praised the character shown by his side to fight back to earn a share of the points.

“The players came in at half time and were willing to do whatever it took to get themselves back in the game. It’s a massive point for us against a Crusaders side who don’t hand too many points out,” he said.