Jordan Forsythe celebrates opening the scoring (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)
Saturday, 19 March 2016
Crusaders hit Carrick Rangers with two quick-fire goals to power their way to victory at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena.
Stephen Baxter's side raced into the lead inside the first 30 seconds after a free-kick from the left wasn't cleared with the ball falling for Jordan Forsythe to finish coolly from the edge of the area.
Then, barely a couple of minutes later, Paul Heatley made it 2-0 after cutting inside to beat both a defender and 'keeper James Taylor into the bottom corner.
Adam Salley might have pulled one back for Rangers on 18 minutes when he found himself one-on-one with Sean O'Neill only for the 'keeper to save well.
But Heatley then doubled his tally on 20 minutes to extend Crusaders' lead after Billy Joe Burns released him at the end of a long run out of defence.
Carrick's afternoon got worse on 35 minutes when 'keeper Taylor was shown a straight red card following an incident with Diarmuid O'Carroll, conceding a penalty in the process.
However, Brian McCaul - his replacement between the sticks - made an immediate impact in his new position by saving Burns' subsequent penalty.
To their credit Carrick, despite being three goals and one man down, refused to give up and might have pulled one back early in the second when James Wright's free-kick clipped the crossbar.
Crusaders added a fourth via Jordan Owens five minutes from time when his shot from around 12 yards struck the underside of the bar before dropping over the line.
Carrick Rangers: Taylor, Smyth, Traynor, Surgenor, Johnston, Harmon, Doyle, Salley, McCaul, Wright, McCloskey subs Chines (replaced Salley 75), Roy (not used), Kelly (replaced Johnston 58), Wallace (not used), Kane (not used)
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Robinson, McClean, Clarke, Caddell, Forsythe, Heatley, Owens, O'Carroll subs Snoddy (not used), Mitchell (replaced Coates 65), Carvill (replaced O'Carroll 70), Whyte (replaced Clarke 84), McKibbin (not used)
Referee: Mervyn Smyth
|Billy Joe Burns||64|