Michael Carvill is expecting a first-half flurry from hosts Liepaja next week as Crusaders visit Latvia aiming to extend the Europa League adventure.
Carvill’s first-half finish helped the Crues secure a first-leg advantage at Seaview with a 3-1 success.
Celebrations at the final whistle of the first qualifying round were tempered, however, by the knowledge that Arturs Karasausks’ superb angled strike in the second half handed Liepaja a vital boost.
“We would have taken 3-1 before the match against a full-time side with so many games into the season but it is amazing just how disappointed everyone is at having conceded that away goal,” said Carvill. “To go from 3-0 to 3-1 feels like a goal given away but, in hindsight, we have done one week’s pre-season and a friendly so it is only natural we got tired.
“The idea was 60 minutes in the tank for any player would be considered good and after the third they put an extra man up top and it made a difference.
“But we had the right gameplan and feel we could have held on if midway through our season.”
A flying start by Stephen Baxter’s men produced goals from Philip Lowry, Carvill and Jordan Owens within the opening hour.
“We went back to forward quite quickly and caught them by surprise, so it worked to our advantage,” said Carvill. “But in the second half you could see they felt they had to go for it and they really put us under pressure, although we stayed strong.
“We cannot think about how they’ve maybe seven players to come back and we must just focus on the job to do.
“You have to zone it all out and put in a shift away from home.
“They may feel they created more chances once the decision was made to go more attacking, so we have to be prepared for that in the away leg.
“They will absolutely be building the game around how they finished at Seaview I would imagine.
“That one goal will annoy us but we now know what we have to do going out to Latvia.”