CRUES THROUGH TO LEAGUE CUP DECIDER
Crusaders comfortably secured a BetMcLean League Cup final berth with a 2-0 defeat of Institute at Seaview.
The sides exchanged half chances during the early proceedings. Colm McLaughlin and Gareth Brown had opportunities for 'Stute while the Crues threatened through Ross Clarke and Paul Heatley.
However, as the first half continued, the Crues looked the more likely to make their chances count with David Cushley, Clarke again and Colin Coates all testing keeper Paul Wells.
Coates was later denied by the woodwork after his header came off the inside of the right post before rolling along the line.
It was no surprise when, moments after that, Cushley finally edged the Crues in front when he ran onto a Clarke through ball to curl an effort past Wells.
And they had a chance to double their advantage before the break when Heatley connected with a perfectly weighted Cushley pass but Wells spread himself to make the save.
Crusaders doubled their advantage six minutes into the second half after a Clarke cross was cleared only as far as Jordan Forsythe who superbly volleyed home from just inside the area.
'Stute were then reduced to ten men just after the hour when Joe McCready was dismissed for a double challenge on Coates.
Although effectively over as a contest, Heatley almost added a third for the Crues only to be denied by another great stop from Wells.
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates, Lowry, McGonigle, Cushley, Forsythe, O'Rourke, Heatley, Clarke subs Doherty (not used), Hegarty (not used), Caddell (not used), Ruddy (not used), Thompson (replaced Forsythe 78), McGinley (replaced Cushley 84), McElroy (replaced Heatley 80)
Institute: Wells, R. Morrow, C. McLaughlin, D. Curry, Grace, Tourish, G. Brown, McCready, McCauley, Tweed, Crown subs R. Brown (not used), S. Curry (not used), J. Morrow (not used), Leppard (replaced Grace 73), McNamee (replaced D. Curry 54), Burke (replaced G. Brown 78), Bradley (not used)