Crusaders stay second in the Danske Bank Premiership after a hard fought 1-0 win against Glentoran at Seaview. In a game that saw some heavy tackles and flared tempers Crusaders came out on top eventually and showed they can win in such games as well as winning big.
The game started pretty evenly and their was little to seperate the sides. The first real chance of the game fell to Glentoran when Mark McChrystal failed to decide what to do with the ball in defence and Robbie McDaid got the ball went round Brian Jensen in the Crusaders goal but hit the side netting with his shot. Howard Beverland was next to clear for Crusaders as Glentoran tried to take hold of the game and it was Glentoran again who went close at the back post but Crusaders defence did well to put them off. Crusaders started to play themselves into the game and Paul Heatley then had a shot that went not far over the bar. The game started to flow and Brian Jensen saved easily from Eric Foley and the same player shot over a few minutes later. Glentoran took the game to Crusaders but the home defence did well to keep them at bay. Crusaders then forced a few corners themselves and the Glentoran defence did well to keep the score at 0-0. Jordan Owens headed just wide with Elliott Morris struggling to get across to save before making a good save from Jordan Owens and then he watched Paul Heatley shoot over. Crusaders finished the half the better of the two with Owens and Heatley taking shots but they didn't trouble the Glentoran stopper.
The second half saw Crusaders take control and the tomne was set when Gavin Whyte was body checked by a Glentoran player when in full flight. Elliott Morris then made a superb save from Jordan Owens as the big striker poked the ball from six yards out goalwards but the keeper stuck a leg out on the line and the ball bounced away. Crusaders though did score momemts later with a good goal from Jordan Forsythe. Paul Heatley collected on the edge of the box and danced across the line before passing to Forsythe and he side footed the ball with great precision into the net from outside the box and it was 1-0 Crusaders on 54 minutes. Crusaders pushed on and a Howard Beverland cross went unpunished as no one was on hand to finish it off. It was Brian Jensens turn to save Crusaders when he rushed across his goal to tip a Glentoran free kick over the bar and from the resulting corner it was cleared at the second attempt. Crusaders kept their temper as tackles came in heavily on one or more occasions before Declan Caddell had a shot but it hit the side netting. Howard Beverland was then given a second yellow card and from that a red when he was deemed to have stopped a free kick being taken and the defender walked despite his protest and it was suddenly 10 v 11 for the last 12 minutes. Crusaders though kept on top and Declan Caddell was unlucky not to get on the end of a Jordan Owens header back into the danger zone. Tempers flared on the pitch and Glentorans Kym Nelson was at the centre of it as he man handled Declan Caddell resulting in a free for all that was eventually calmed. Crusaders kept on top and again Morris had to be smart to punch away not once but twice to keep the score at 1-0. As the game came to a close Crusaders where again unlucky not to make it 2-0 when Declan Caddell just missed out connecting on to a Paul Heatley shot come cross but it was all over soon after and the three points where safe with the 1-0.
So with three points collected and twelve unbeaten Crusaders now have a full week to prepare for their next game against Warrenpoint away. It will give time for several players to recover from knocks and give the squad a rest from playing so much football over the last month or so.