It was Crusaders at their best today as they swept Danske Bank Premiership leaders at the start of the day aside with a 3-0 victory. Glenavon could not cope with a rampant Crusaders side who threatened every time they went forward.
Crusaders started very brightly and looked like a team that meant business. Paul Heatley was especially in good form and he went high with a volley before shooting just wide. He was however getting his range right because on 10 minutes he opened the scoring with a superb volley. Jordan Owens played a beautiful cross in and it was Paul Heatley who met it sweetly on the run to put Crusaders ahead. Next for Paul Heatley was another from his box of tricks when he flicked the ball with his heel over a Glenavon player and ran 70 yards. His cross was met by a Glenavon defender who crashed his attempted clearance of his own cross bar and it stayed 1-0. Crusaders did not have to wait long before it was 2-0. On 18 minutes a good cross from Ross Clarke after a good buiild up was met by Jordan Owens and headed home unmarked at the back post. Both Clarke and Owens went close as Crusaders threatened to run riot while Heatley looked like he would score every time he went in on goal. Rhys Marshall was lucky to stay on the field after lifting his hands to Michael Carvill as they clashedbut he was given a reprieve. Glenavon rallied slightly as half time approached but the closest they came was a shot they fizzed by Harry Dohertys goal before the half time whistle blew and it was Crusaders two ahead.
Both sides traded chances early in the second half but the two keepers dealt with the danger. Paul Heatley carried on where he left off in the first half and made Tuffey work twice in quick succession to keep it at 2-0. Ross Clarke also did well and deserved better with his effort as Glenavon looked like rabbits in headlights each time Crusaders came forward. Declan Caddell was next to test the Glenavon defence as he chased the ball down and Stephen Murray wasted a good chance for Glenavon to get back into the game. Good work by Caddell set Jordan Owens up with another chance but it was charged down. Crusaders though kept themselves in charge and they stopped Glenavon pressure by scoring a killer third goal. Jordan Owens collected a long ball by keeper Harry Dohertya and after chesting the ball down he let it bounce twice before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the net from 25 yards and it was 3-0. Crusaders kept going looking more but Tuffey again was in great form and he somehow stopped a close range touch from Paul Heatley from going in. Crusaders stayed in control for the rest of the half and on the whistle they had ran out comfortable winners by three goals to nil.
So a great performance and result and Crusaders have closed the gap to six points now from Premiership leaders Linfield. Next up is Institute at Seaview next Saturday and the chance to keep this winning streak going.