Crusaders ended the Danske Bank Premiership season with a good 3-0 win over Ballymena United at the Ballymena Showgrounds. In a morale boosting win ahead of next weeks Irish Cup Final goals from Rory Patterson, Ross Clarke and Matthew Snoddy helped Crusaders to the win.
Crusaders opened the brightest and they made the I=United defence work early on to clear a dangerous free kick. Both sides created little until the game came to life in the 11th minute. Rory Patetrson controlled the ball on the 18 yrad line and after a brilliant swivel he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the United net and Crusaders where one up. The game was held up soon after for six minutes as Uniteds Shane McGinty was treated for a neck injury before being stretchered off. Once play resumed Ronan Hale had an overhead kick blocked and Howard Beverland did well in defence when called upon to stop a United attack. From that Ronan Hale counered for Crusaders and his cut in and shot went just wide. Ronan Hale then had another chance but he sliced his volley and the chance had gone. Harry Doherty made a superb save and Crusaders defenders blocked two goalbound shots with five minutes of the half left but the goals where not finished when Ross Clarkes effort went into the United net via a big deflection and Crusaders where 2-0 up on 42 minutes. Crusaders nearly made it three just before half time but Jordan Williamson made a good save from Ronan Hale.
The second half was a quiet affair as both sides slow the tempo down and the last half of football in the league was played out. Both sides looked happy to knock the ball around but Crusaders did go further ahead on 55 minutes when Matthew Snoddy shot from distance after a good build up and his shot flew by Williamson to make it 3-0. It was a last day debut for Tom Matheson and he fitted in nearly immediately playing the ball well and creating openings when he could. Uniteds defence did well again to stop a Crusaders fourth before Ronan Hale missed a chance to score for Crusaders when he went in on goal but could not finish. It was the same player again who could have scored but again he got in on goal but this time shot over. As the final whistle loomed it was Patterson who had the last shot of the day from a free kick and again Williamson produced a good save to deny. With that the whistle was blown and the league season ended with a win.
So all finished in the Premiership for the season and we now focus completely on the Tennents Irish Cup Final on Saturday. It will be a great day out.