FOOTBALL: Crusaders ease to comfortable win over Glentoran

Crusaders Rodney Brown opens the scoring against Glentoran
Crusaders Rodney Brown opens the scoring against Glentoran

Stephen Baxter’s Crusaders bounced back to form with a majestic performance in front of a live Sky Sports audience at the Oval in a 3-0 win over Glentoran.

A double blast from Rodney Brown - his first goals for the club - and a bullet header from Jordan Owens made it a night of misery for Glentoran, who were totally outplayed over the 90 minutes.

The Glens approached the game in the best possible shape as they were undefeated in their previous eight games at the East Belfast base.

There was never any chance of them extending that impressive statistic.

In fact, they were fortunate get away with only three goals in the arrears column.

Had it been a boxing match, the referee Arnold Hunter would have had it stopped long before the finish.

The Crues set about their opponents right from the off, but only had Brown’s early goal to show for all their dominance.

Owens fired over the crossbar inside the first 50 seconds and that set the tone for the rest of the game.

Big Owens had the ball in the net on three minutes when he finished from close range, but the referee’s assistant had already flagged for an offside infringement.

Brown, who was allowed acres of space on the left, then picked out the dangerous Heatley, who stung the hands of Elliott Morris with a low drive.

Seconds later, Brown’s free kick was knocked down by the towering Owens, for Gavin Whyte to drill inches wide.

Brown had the away fans dancing a jig on 11 minutes when he met Michael Carvill’s cross at the near post and his header bulleted into the net.

The Crues then laid siege on the Glentoran goal, with Heatley ramming another shot narrowly wide after a lightning break involving Philip Lowry and Carvill.

And, the dangerous Whyte held his head in frustration 10 minutes before the break when his thundering 30 yard drive crashed back off the underside of the crossbar.

Big defender Billy Joe Burns was next up to test Morris with a raking low shot that the over-worked shot stopper did well to save at the base of the post.

Glentoran had to wait until 60 seconds before the break to give their fans a glimmer of hope, but Curtis Allen’s speculative drive drifted hopeless over the top.

The Crues grabbed the second goal they craved just three minutes after the break.

Again, it was Carvill who produced the most accurate of deliveries and again, it was Brown who rose majestically at the back post to send a thumping header past Morris.

They struck again in devastating fashion on 55 minutes. Burn drilled in a wonderful ball from the right which was met by the towering Owens, whose header bulleted past Morris.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Kane, Birney, Addis, Kelly (Knowles 52), Allen, McGuigan, McMullan(McNicholl 46), Kerr, Redman, McDaid.

Unused subs: Delaney, McCawl, Smith.

CRUSADERS: Jenson, Burns, Coates, Brown, Lowry (Glackin 85), Carvill (Forsythe 64) Owens, Whyte (Snoddy 79), Ward, Heatley, Caddell.

Unused subs: Beverland, Cushley.

REFEREE: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge).