Merciless Crusaders switch on the style to sweep Coleraine aside
Coleraine 2-6 Crusaders
Classy Crusaders hit Coleraine for six in a sensational Showgrounds display last night.
Paul Heatley struck twice in the first half and Coleraine were further taken apart after the break, four goals in arrears down before they could muster a reply.
The Crues posed such threat every time they came forward. Stephen Baxter's men teased the home defence at every opportunity and when Josh Robinson floated over a cross from the right, Jordan Owens only just failed to get a touch in front of goal.
Coleraine keeper Michael Doherty denied defender Colin Coates' headed attempt and didn't have to exert himself too much to deal with a Heatley shot drilled straight at his body after Gary McCutcheon's accurate pass had presented the opportunity.
The pressure continued from Crusaders. Owens' cross was knocked on to Robinson by McCutcheon but the young star couldn't keep his shot down.
However, Crusaders made the breakthrough. Owens was again the play maker and he found Heatley inside the box. The winger took a touch before clipping the ball home after 11 minutes.
Coleraine's response was an Ian Parkhill header, making the connection from Neil McCafferty's corner, but the ball was cleared in front of goal.
Irresistible Crusaders maintained their probing and testing of the Bannsiders' back divisions and after Robinson sent a shot off target, the Seaview side extended their advantage. Owens controlled the ball outside the box, picked out Heatley and he gloriously smashed a left-foot shot past Doherty on 32 minutes.
McCutcheon sent a shot the wrong side of a post before the break and the woodwork denied him early in the second half as he stooped to meet Owens' assist with his head.
But Crusaders were not to be denied and exciting winger Gavin Whyte smashed a right-foot drive past Doherty from 20 yards within five minutes of the restart.
Then, Heatley and McCutcheon linked up with impressive speed and accuracy. As Heatley skipped into the box, defender Aaron Canning sent him to ground and McCutcheon stepped up to convert the penalty to make it 4-0 in the 53rd minute.
Striker Parkhill pulled one back with a sweet connection from 16 yards nine minutes later but Owens bundled the ball over the line from Coates' header across the face of goal in the 71st minute.
Defender David Oghilby grabbed another consolation goal after connecting with a header from McCafferty's corner.
But substitute Diarmuid O'Carroll was allowed time and space to score number six for the Crues in the final minute of normal time.