IRRESISTIBLE CRUES HIT NINE PAST CARRICK
Ben Kennedy grabbed four first half goals as an unstoppable Crusaders hit a remarkable nine past Carrick Rangers at Seaview.
Despite the eventual outcome it almost fell to Rangers to open the scoring when, after five minutes, Danny Purkis lofted the ball over keeper Jonny Tuffey only to be denied by a header off the line by Jarlath O'Rourke.
The Crues knocked home their first of the evening on 11 minutes when former Carrick striker Paul Heatley ran onto a Billy Joe Burns ball over the top to take the ball past Ross Glendinning and into the unguarded net.
Burns and Heatley combined again soon after for the latter to find the net only for the goal to be ruled out offside, just a few minutes before he then rolled an effort just wide of the far post.
But the floodgates well and truly opened on 21 minutes when Kennedy opened his account with an assured finish beyond Glendinning.
Kennedy doubled up on 25 minutes with a confident finish from the spot awarded after he had been impeded by Kyle Cherry in attempt to connect with a Heatley ball into the box - and to make matters worse for the visitors Cherry was subsequently dismissed by referee Ben McMaster for the challenge.
Amazingly, Kennedy struck again three minutes after that to complete his hat-trick with a stunning strike from outside the area before adding his fourth later in the first half with a strong finish into the roof of the net after O'Rourke had rolled the ball into his path.
There was no respite for the beleagured visitors within two minutes of the interval when Philip Lowry got in on the act after an Adam Lecky flick broke for him before, on 54 minutes, Burns made it 7-0 with a header at the back post from a Kennedy cross.
The scoring continued just after the hour with Jimmy Callacher becoming the latest to get his name on the scoresheet when he nodded home a Ross Clarke corner.
And James Teelan then added number nine with just over ten minutes to go when he steered home another Clarke set piece.
Crusaders: Tuffey, Burns, Callacher, Lowry, Kennedy, Lecky, Forsythe, O'Rourke, Larmour, Heatley, McKeown subs Williamson, Weir, Teelan, Owens, Winchester, Clarke, Anderson
Carrick Rangers: Ross Glendinning, Forsythe, Stewart, Surgenor, Cushley, Allen, Crowe, Cherry, Reece Glendinning, Purkis, Tilney subs McCauley, McGuckin, Maciulaitis, Buchanan-Rolleston, Montgomery, Andrews, Withers