Ben McCann shadows Paul Heatley (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)
Monday, 01 January 2018
Crusaders moved to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with this three-goal defeat of Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park.
Gavin Whyte threatened early on for the Crues with a strong, low right-foot strike from distance which whistled just past the post.
Then Whyte laid the ball off for Paul Heatley who went one-on-one with Richard Brush but he could only fire across the face of goal and well wide.
Ballinamallard had the ball in the net when, from a quickly taken free-kick, Ciaran Martyn 'scored' but the goal was ruled out offside.
It was then Heatley's turn to tee up Whyte with a cross from the right side of the area but Brush parried the subsequent shot to safety.
And Brush was called into action again to pull off a double save to deny Billy Joe Burns' shot from distance and then Heatley's attempt at converting the follow up.
However, the deadlock was finally broken six minutes into the second half when a Howard Beverland lob forward was knocked back only as far as Jordan Forsythe on the edge of the area who duly sent a sublime left-foot volley beyond Brush in off the inside of the post.
Forsythe might have been instrumental in Crusaders' second when his long throw-in from the left was met with a looping header by a defender before striking the top of the crossbar.
But that second goal did arrive on 71 minutes when Heatley's cross from the left was turned into his own net by Matthew Smyth as he attempted to clear the danger.
Burns completed the scoring in the closing moments with a thumping half-volley from the edge of the area.
Ballinamallard United: Brush, McCann, O'Reilly, Smyth, McLaughlin, Taheny, Leddy, Clarke, Curran, Martyn, Burns subs McKenna (replaced O'Reilly 46), Britton (not used), McIlwaine (replaced Martyn 67), McCartney (replaced Clarke 77), Armstrong (not used)
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates, Snoddy, Lowry, Heatley, Whyte, Forsythe, Owens, McChrystal subs Dougherty (not used), Ward (replaced Owens 89), Caddell (not used), Cushley (replaced Whyte 89), McClean (not used)
Referee: Keith Kennedy
|Billy Joe Burns||87|