CRUSADERS 4 DUNGANNON SWIFTS 0
After a tepid opening half hour and going in 1-0 ahead at the interval, Crusaders moved into overdrive in the second half to defeat Dungannon Swifts 4-0.
The Swifts produced a spirited first half display when they went into the lion’s den to face the Danske Bank Premiership champions.
A mixture of resolute defending, fine goal keeping from Dungannon’s Andy Coleman and a smattering of luck kept things level until the Crues finally got the breakthrough on 42 minutes.
The scorer was central defender Josh Robinson who had come up for a corner which was floated towards the far post by Richard Clarke and when it was headed back across goal the Crues centre back headed home.
Earlier the home side had twice been denied by the woodwork when Coleman’s right boot diverted Gavin Whyte’s cross-shot on to the post after 26 minutes.
Twelve minutes later Billy Joe Burns planted a cross from the right on the head of Jordan Owens but his header came back off Coleman’s right hand post.
Although Crusaders had the best of the opening half’s chances the Swifts had their moments.
Sean O’Neill had to move smartly to save Ryan Mullan’s header off Cormac Burke’s free kick and Paul McElroy also threatened on two occasions.
The Swifts began the second half in search of an equaliser and Ryan Harpur warmed O’Neill’s hands with a stinging free kick three minutes after the re-start.
Owens flashed into the game again on 52 minutes but his well struck shot was blocked by Dale Montgomery who joined Dungannon in the close season from Armagh City.
But the big striker was not to denied and he headed Crusaders’ second on 65 from a long free kick by Robinson and then seven minutes later sidestepped a defender after controlling a long ball to bang in his second of the match.
The icing on the cake for the Crues was a neat one-two between Snoddy and Jordan Forsythe which saw young Matt slide in the fourth.
O’Neill 6; Burns 7, Robinson 7, Coates (Andy Mitchell 76) 6, McClean 7;
Whyte (Forsythe 63) 6, Snoddy 7, Clarke 6, Heatley 6;
Owens (Carvill 79) 7, O’Carroll 6.
Subs: Mitchell 6; Carvill 6; Forsythe 6.
Coleman 7; Montgomery 6, Mullan 5, Armstrong 5, McCaffrey 6; Fitzpatrick (Andrew Mitchell 63) 6, Harpur 6; Glackin (McCullough 80) 6,
Teggart (Liggett 68) 5, Burke 5; McElroy 6.
Subs: McCullough 6; Liggett 6; Mitchell 6; .
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown) 5.