Crusaders through to semi-finals of Tennent's Irish Cup after hitting three against Ballymena United at Seaview
Crusaders 3 Ballymena United 0
Crusaders are through to the semi-finals of the Tennent's Irish Cup after a convincing 3-0 win over Ballymena United at Seaview on Saturday.
Goals from Jordan Forsythe, Jordan Owens and Billy Joe Burns sealed the win for the Crues as they look to go on and win their first Irish Cup since 2009.
The Sky Blues will be disappointed with their showing and they looked out of sorts and off the pace for most of the afternoon.
The Crues got off to a fast start as Declan Caddell blazed over in the opening minute.
Caddell was then in the spotlight a minute later as he collided with United's Scot Whiteside. It was hard tackle from the Crues midfielder as he set the tone for the afternoon.
United's Whiteside was then booked for a foul on David Cushley in the 12th minute as Sky Blues boss David Jeffrey let his feelings to be known to the match officials.
United then had to reshuffle as Jude Winchester limped off with an injury in the 17th minute to be replaced by William Faulkner.
United won a corner in the 19th minute. Tony Kane flew in the corner for Adam Lecky to head over.
It was 1-0 to Crusaders in the 21st minute. A throw-in found Cushley and he back heeled it across the United goal for Forsythe to shoot home at the back post.
It was 2-0 in the 24th minute as a misplaced pass from United defender Jonathan Addis found Cushley.
The Crues midfielder released Jordan Owens and he lobbed keeper Ross Glendinning to extend the home side's lead.
The Crues were quicker to the ball and United seemed out of sorts as they couldn't get any pattern to their game.
Then out of nowhere a strike from Crusaders Burns from 45 yards was caught by the wind in the 29th minute and ended up in the top corner to make it 3-0 to Stephen Baxter's Crusaders.
A wonderful goal from Burns but did the right-back really mean it?
United's Leroy Millar had a good chance in the 36th minute. He mistimed his header from a Steven McCullough cross and the chance was lost.
United needed to start the second half well with the wind behind them but there was nothing to note in the first five minutes after the break.
Both sides were finding it difficult to gauge the wind as it swirled around the Shore Road venue.
United's Kane had a free-kick in the 55th minute. This time his effort was high and wide from 20 yards.
The Crues had a chance to their lead in the 57th minute. Glendinning did well to push away a Cushley effort.
A minute later United's Cathair Friel raced clear of the Crusaders defence, His first touch however was to heavy for the ball to run through to keeper Sean O'Neill.
In the 70th minute Friel tried to curl one but it flew past the Crusaders goal. That about summed up United's afternoon
United's Addis then came to his side's rescue as he cleared the ball with Owens lurking from a Sean Ward ball.
The Crues knew what they were doing and slowed the game and made the game stop, start which suited them as time ran out for the Sky Blues.
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Lowry, Ward, Cushley, Caddell, Forsythe, Ruddy, J Owens (Clarke 80mins), Rory Hale (K Owens 80mins)
Subs not used: Doherty, Snoddy, McGinley, Patterson, Ronan Hale.
Ballymena United: Glendinning, Kane (Mayse 75mins)
, Addis, Whiteside, Friel, McCullough, McGrory (McGinty 66mins), Winchester (Faulkner 17mins), Ervin, Lecky, Millar.
Subs not used: Williamson, Shevlin, Balmer, Watson.
Referee: Ian McNabb