Rory Patterson (11)
Ross Clarke (42)
Matthew Snoddy (56)

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Gary Thompson and Ryan Mayse tussle for possession (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)

CRUES LIMBER UP FOR CUP FINAL

Irish Cup finalists Crusaders limbered up for next week's decider with a three-goal victory over Europa League bound Ballymena United at The Showgrounds.

Rory Patterson opened the scoring after 11 minutes with a fierce effort past keeper Jordan Williamson from the edge of the area.

Rory Hale might have added a second midway through the half only to curl an effort just wide after cutting in from the left.

However, the Crues did double their advantage three minutes before the break when Ross Clarke saw his effort take a deflection of a home shirt and wrong foot Williamson on its way over the line.

Ronan Hale then came close to adding a third but his shot was well blocked by the United keeper.

But Stephen Baxter's did knock home number three just before the hour courtesy of Matthew Snoddy's finish high into the net.

Click here for a NI Football League statement concerning this game.

Ballymena United: Williamson, Quigley, Mayse, McGinty, Faulkner, Nolan, Shevlin, McGrory, Balmer, Millar, Watson subs Glendinning (not used), McCullough (replaced McGinty 23), McMurray (replaced Mayse 79), Heron (not used), McMullan (not used), Beattie (replaced Nolan 79), Lewis (not used)

Crusaders: H. Doherty, Burns, McChrystal, Beverland, K. Owens, Snoddy, Thompson, Clarke, Patterson, Rr. Hale, Rn. Hale subs Scutt (not used), Coates (not used), Lowry (not used), Caddell (not used), Heatley (not used), Mathieson (replaced Rr. Hale 64), Cushley (replaced Clarke 46)

Referee: Tim Marshall

Attendance: 999

Tags:  Ballymena United  Crusaders