Glenavon v Crusaders: Reaction from the managers after Tuesday night’s Irish League match

Crusaders Gavin Whyte celebrates after scoring a penalty against Glenavon

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton refused to criticise his players after last night’s 6-1 defeat to Crusaders in the Danske Bank Premiership at Mourneview Park.

Jordan Owens grabbed a hat-trick and Gavin Whyte scored twice as Crusaders hammered the Mid Ulster Blues to move five points clear at the top of the table.

Mark Sykes gave Glenavon the lead but the Crues were 2-1 up by half-time and put in an impressive second-half show, Paul Heatley getting their other goal.

Hamilton said: “I got a response from the boys after the Irish Cup defeat. I don’t think we were top drawer but we were a lot better than we were on Saturday.

“Our energy levels were better, we closed the ball down better, we created chances and we were more like ourselves.

“I know the score line was 6-1 but at the end of the day we gave away a goal with the Rhys Marshall pass back that allowed them back to 1-1.

“Then we gave away a penalty for the second goal and we have seen a photograph - we have been told the only way you give a way a penalty is if your arms are outside your body - and we have seen the picture and it is plain as day that Andrew Doyle turns his body and his arms are not outside his body.

“The shot was from two or three yards away and it was not a penalty kick ad we have been crying in this country for months because of the decision against Switzerland and this is the same decision.

“It was not a penalty kick,” added Hamilton.

And Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter was delighted with his side’s performance.

“It was a good performance and the game was very open. Both sides like to attack and Glenavon have been doing that all year.

“They playing good football and their goal was excellent - but our response was very good.

“We got the penalty just before half-time and the game was still very tight at 2-1.

“We knew that after half-time the next goal would be vital and we got it.

“We then got another one and were able to open up gaps and keep on the front foot.

“And with players of the quality of Owens, Heatley and Whyte - who have real quality and they will hurt you.

“We just got it right tonight but that performance has been coming for a while. But it is only one game of football and we have to stay focused.”

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