Crusaders: Champions back with a bang in win over Glenavon
Crusaders hosted their own goal of the season contest at Seaview '“ with Jordan Owens and Paul Heatley in the running for the top prize!
Stephen Baxter’s defending Danske Bank Premiership champions were back to their best in the 3-0 victory over Glenavon.
They may have already tasted defeat on six occasions so far but this display had champions written all over it - as near to perfection as you’d get.
Yes, Glenavon’s Stephen Murray was guilty of a glaring miss just before the interval and, yes, Harry Doherty did get down to pull off a smart save to deny Rhys Marshall in the second half - but that was as good as it got for the visitors.
Other than that, it was total Crusaders domination. It took them merely 10 minutes to click into gear when Owens sent in a looping cross which Heatley volleyed into the top corner – a fantastic strike.
They almost did it again when Heatley’s cross came off Josh Daniels, who was relieved to see the ball crash against the crossbar.
Jonny Tuffey saved another low shot from Heatley before the Crues struck again on 18 minutes. In another lightning raid. Owens started and finished the move, which also involved Heatley and Ross Clarke, the latter’s cross bulleted home by head of the diving striker.
Live-wire Heatley then, after picking up an Owens flick, outwitted defender Dylan King but, with only Tuffey to beat, he blasted wide.
Heatley should have had the Crues out of sight after the break but Tuffey produced another wonder-save with an outstretched leg – it was becoming a personal battle involving both players.
Then, in their next attack, Caolan Marron’s slip allowed Heatley another clear run on goal but Tuffey again rescued his over-run side.
It was left to Owens to bag the pick of the bunch 12 minutes from time. He picked the ball up 30 yards out and sent in a sensational drive, which rocketed into the top corner.
The ground erupted – the Crues were back with a bang.