Plenty of positives from Crues defeat, says Hill

Ballyclare boss Eddie Hill (right) with assistant-manager, Gary Bell.
Ballyclare boss Eddie Hill (right) with assistant-manager, Gary Bell.

Ballyclare Comrades skipper Andrew Doyle was in the spotlight at the weekend - and for all the wrong reasons.

First he conceded a penalty that gifted Crusaders the opening goal in Saturday’s Irish Cup quarter-final at Seaview, then he picked up a second yellow card - all within the opening 36 minutes.

“It was a nightmare for him,” fumed Reds’ manager Eddie Hill. “I was absolutely livid, but after that we had 10 heroes out there.

“The 5-0 scoreline did not reflect the play, or do justice to our players. Even the Crusaders folk said the scoreline flattered their team. Our 10 men knocked their pan in for an hour after having been left short-handed, but they eventually buckled, with three of the goals coming in the last 10 minutes or so.”

Stephen Baxter’s side started odds-on favourites to advance to the semi-final; they are the bookmakers’ favourites to land the coveted trophy. They are a top Premiership side, and they had the artificial surface in their favour, so Hill felt his side had nothing to lose, but events transpired against him.

“I felt sorry for the 10 left to battle it out after Doyle’s dismissal,” he said.

“I opted for a 4-1-4-1 formation with Chris Trussell operating as the lone striker, and our plan was to hit them on the break, but we had to make team changes.

“I was pleased how our tactics were paying off until we were left with a man down.

“We had strong appeals for a penalty, and their third goal followed a dubious offside decision, but it seems that often the big teams get the big decisions,” he said.

He added: “We didn’t deserve to be beaten so many, but there were plenty of positives. Hopefully the lads will carry the same form over to Saturday and take out their frustrations on Armagh,” he added.