IRISH LEAGUE: Stephen Baxter delighted with Crusaders performance in win at Linfield

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter
Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter could not hide his delight at watching his side defeated Linfield 5-2 at the National Stadium at Windsor Park on Monday night.

The win lifted the North Belfast side into third place in the Danske Bank Premiership table and in doing so pushed Linfield down to fifth.

Crusaders celebrate

Crusaders celebrate

Paul Heatley's early strike was doubled by a Mark Stafford own goal before the defender scored at the right end.

Gavin Whyte made it 3-1 but Aaron Burns' goal briefly gave Linfield hope.

However, another own goal, this time by Jimmy Callacher, and a Philip Lowry strike saw Linfield leak five goals at home for the first time since 1994.

Baxter enthused: “It was a brilliant game of football. You have to be happy when you win 5-2 at the home of the champions.

“I don’t know the last time they conceded give here. The manner of our performance was good.

“We had to endure a 20 minute spell just after half time when theyt threw eerthing at us, which you would expect.

“They got goal back. It was like a boxer coming at us with that many punches. We didn’t quite know where the next one was coming from at times.

“But we weathered that storm. Thankfully our big players stood form, putting their head on everything at the back.

“Eventually we turned the tide and got up the pitch to get the goals that won the match.

“It’s only three points . . . we won’t become carried away with it all. We would have been happy with a tight 1-0. The gap (in the league table) is still quite huge. The season is starting to get into its stride.

“There are so many games of football to be played.

“But we’ve put on a bit of a show here tonight. When Sky television comes to see seven goals, it has to be good.

“The product we saw tonight was better then most English Premiership matched I watched on Saturday night.

“It was a quality game of football

“We didn’t destroy Linfield in any shape of form. That was a very tight game, until we got that fourth goal. So don’t let the score line fool you.