Crusaders pick up crucial win to edge closer to dream tie with Wolves

Chris Hegarty celebrates after he headed Crusaders into a 1-0 lead' against B36 T�rshavn at Seaview. Mandatory Credit / Stephen Hamilton/Inpho
Chris Hegarty celebrates after he headed Crusaders into a 1-0 lead' against B36 T�rshavn at Seaview. Mandatory Credit / Stephen Hamilton/Inpho
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Crusaders took a big step towards a dream meeting with Wolves following their 2-0 win over B36 Tórshavn in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier at Seaview.

The hosts were dominant from start to finish against their Faroese opponents, with the only complaint they did not win by an even bigger margin.

A mixture of weak finishing and good goalkeeping restricted the Crues to two goals on the night.

Visiting keeper Hans Jorgensen set the tone after only 88 seconds when he saved Jordan Owens’s penalty.

And he produced several other key stops to stop the home side running away with it in the first half.

Chris Hegarty was handed his first competitive in the absence of club captain Colin Coates, who is currently on holiday. And the former Dungannon Swifts man made a dream start for his new club by heading them in front on 33 minutes.

The Crues doubled their advantage with eleven minutes to go as Owens fed the surging run of Philip Lowry and he finished well off the far post.

The hosts were handed a dream start when they were awarded a penalty after only 60 seconds when Eli Nielsen bundled over Jordan Owens in the box. The big striker dusted himself down but saw his spot kick saved by visiting keeper Hans Jorgensen, low down to his left.

He was called into action again two minutes later when Jordan Forsythe got on the end of Ross Clarke’s corner, but again Jorgensen gathered.

Clarke tried his luck from a free kick on the edge of the box with 10 minutes gone after Paul Heatley had been crudely brought down, but again the keeper saved well.

Jorgensen was frustrating the hosts as he produced another decent stop to deny Lowry, who surged on to Owens’s flick on.

The home side were well on top but were almost hit with a sucker punch just past the half hour.

The visitors were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, and Arni Fredriksberg, who had earlier been booked for a poor challenge on Michael Ruddy, crashed the set piece off the bar. Alex Mellemgaard fired the rebound wide of the target.

With a minute the deadlock was broken and it was the debutant Hegarty who headed in from close range from Billy Joe Burns cross following a quick free kick to give the Crues a deserved lead.

The second half pale in significance to the first in the opening stages as both sides struggled to carve out any real opportunities of note.

The hosts wrapped up the tie with a second eleven minutes from times.

Burns’s long ball was flicked into Lowry’s path by Owens, and the midfielder kept his cool to finish low across the keeper with the help of the post.

Jorgensen had to deal with a David Cushley piledriver seconds later as Crusaders pushed for a third before Brian Jacobsen gave them a late scare as he glanced a header inches wide of the Crusaders goal deep into stoppage time.

Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Hegarty, Beverland, Lowry, Caddell (Rory Hale 63), Forsythe (Thompson 90+9), Ruddy, Owens, Heatley (Cushley 78), Clarke.

Subs: Doherty, Ward, Ronan Hale, O’Rourke.

B36 Tórshavn: Jorgensen, Eriksen, Naes, M Jacobsen, Nielsen, Fredriksberg, Cieslewicz (B Jacobsen 90+6), Mellemgaard, E Jacobsen, Heinesen (Radosavlevic 60), Przybylski.

Subs: Hansen, Petersen, Agnarsson, H Samuelsen, G Samuelsen.

Referee: Yigal Frid (ISR)