Crusaders 2-0 Ballymena United

By Paul Alexander 

Goals from Declan Caddell and Ross Clarke gave Crusaders a 2-0 win against Ballymena United at Seaview on Saturday afternoon in the Danske Bank Premiership.  

There was a limited number of chances for both sides during the opening 45 minutes on the Shore Road. At first, it was the hosts who had the openings. In just the second minute Jamie McGonigle’s right-wing corner was directed over by Jordan Forsythe.

Another opportunity followed seconds later when Paul Heatley slipped the ball through to Phillip Lowry who failed to keep his attempt on-target. McGonigle came closest for the Crues in the first half of the match. The forward moved in off the right-wing on 19 minutes but his shot was saved by Ross Glendinning as it dipped on its way back across goal.

Ballymena stepped up their search for the opening goal as the half neared its conclusion. In the 45th minute, the ball dropped to the feet of Joshua Kelly whose low shot went wide of the base of the left post. Cathair Friel also tried to score at an ideal time for the visitors although his shot from the left curled wide of the top right corner.

Crusaders midfielder Caddell tried to put the home side in front after three second-half minutes but his tame attempt was comfortably collected by Ross Glendinning in the visitors’ goal. The 31-year-old used his head to connect with a McGonigle cross from the right on 56 minutes before the ball was nodded away by Sky Blues midfielder Kelly.

Kelly was then involved at the opposite end of the pitch as he attempted to push the Braidmen ahead. He moved inside from the right-wing but his effort pulled wide of the right post.

The away side had their best opportunity of the league meeting with 61 minutes played. Friel did well on the left channel before supplying Andy McGrory. However, the wing-back’s shot across goal was helped onto the post by Crues keeper Gerard Doherty.

Stephen Baxter’s side found the first of their two goals ten minutes later. Right-back Forsythe delivered an early ball from the right-wing which was headed across goal by Caddell. Clarke provided the second from a free-kick which was lifted over the wall and into the left side of the net by the substitute.

Crusaders: Doherty, O’Rourke, Brown, B.J. Burns, Forsythe, Thompson, Lowry, Caddell, Heatley (Clarke, 64), J. Owens, McGonigle (Cushley, 89)

Subs not used: O’Neill, Beverland, Ruddy, McElroy, Dummigan

Ballymena United: Ross Glendinning, Addis, Whiteside, Reece Glendinning, Aaron Burns, Millar, T. Kane, Kelly, McGrory, Friel, Lecky

Subs not used: Williamson, Knowles, McCullough, K. Kane, Carville, Winchester, Lavery

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

In-Touch Man of the Match: Declan Caddell (Crusaders)