Crusaders must see games out says boss Stephen Baxter

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter was calm and relaxed after his side’s 3-2 Danske Bank Premiership defeat to Glenavon at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

In an evenly matched match it was the home side who came away with the three points and it was the first home league win the Lurgan Blues had over their rivals since 2012.

But Baxter should start to be getting a wee bit worried as his defending league champions have lost three of their opening seven league matches and sit in a lowly seventh place.

It was not the start that Baxter would have visualised or have wanted but the Crusaders chief is not going to pressure the panic button just yet.

“I thought we were stunning and I thought the performance level of our team today was outstanding, as was Glenavon’s.

“The disappointment from us is that we were twice ahead and not seeing the game out.

“But the game they equalised from an overhead kick and a sensational goal to win it - that is football.

“And you have just have to accept that but from my point of view the performance levels I will not be anxious or worried about anything.

“I thought we were great today and the amount of challenge we created today we could have scored more.

“If we had taken our time in the first half and thought about our passes more we could have run away with it in the first half.

“They score three great goals and got in at the end and missed a couple but that is the way it works.

“Glenavon will enjoy their moment because they have come from behind to win in the fashion they did and it is their day.”

And Baxter was direct when he was asked about his side’s mixed start to the season.

“Do I look concerned. The only thing I ask from my team - is honesty, endeavour and a level of performance.

“And the quality always come to the top at some stage and we have lost these game against the other three top teams narrowly and last year we got the rub of the green and went on to win those games.

“And that is just a game of football and to be honest the game I watched with the movement and the passing looked a higher level of football than I can remember and I was very impressed with both how both teams worked the ball, got in to good areas and the two teams matched up well and I thought it was a great game of football.”

And Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton was delighted to have got the three points on board and a very elusive home victory.

“I was delighted with the performance and the result. I think both sets of fans got a fantastic game with end to end stuff and it was good at the end of the day to get the three points.

And Hamilton was delighted as the way his side fought back after trailing to the Crues on two occasions.

“I just thought at every stage of the game we didn’t deserve to be behind. Standing in the dug-out that is the way it felt and I thought if we kept going we would create chances and I had belief that we were going to score.

“We scored two great goals but we missed easier ones. We should have put those away as well but you will take whatever comes along.”

And Hamilton was delighted with the goals from Mark Sykes and Josh Daniels that secured the win for his side.

“They were two fantastic striker and we have told Josh he has to score more goals because he has everything else in his locker.

“And we have been saying about Mark for two to three years now that he shouldn’t be playing at this level.

“There are few players in this league that could have scored the goal he did today,” added Hamilton.