Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders midfielder Matthew Snoddy raps offside call

By Graham Luney

Glenavon 2 Crusaders 2: Matthew Snoddy feels Crusaders were on the receiving end of some rough justice at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

The midfielder thought he had netted the third Crusaders goal on the hour mark and a 3-0 advantage would have forced Stephen Baxter's side over the line, but Glenavon fought back with that famous never say die spirit they have rekindled this season.

Two quickfire goals from Guy Bates wiped the smiles off the visitors' faces but Snoddy was left reflecting on the goal he wasn't awarded.

"I scored but it was ruled offside and that would have been game over," he said.

"I came from behind the play so there is no way I could have been offside. Declan Caddell maybe but he didn't touch the ball. The linesman must have thought he was going to.

"I got the ball and I came from behind Jordan (Owens) so I felt the goal should have stood but we are left with a point.

"It was disappointing to lose the game when leading 2-0 with 15 minutes to go but for the majority of the game we played well.

"Overall a draw was a fair result because Glenavon did well in the last 20 minutes and they were the better side then."

This battle was an enthralling affair and although the Crues extended their unbeaten run to 17 matches in all competitions, they headed home feeling they had thrown two points away.

But the Lurgan Blues deserve massive credit. Trailing 2-0 they could have raised the white flag but they rallied to finish the game with a bang.

On Snoddy's offside goal, Crues boss Stephen Baxter said: "It was a quick sweeping move and a lot of the players are saying they thought it was onside as Declan wasn't involved but that incident shouldn't be in the equation because if we had taken our chances we would have been four or five up.

"We didn't do it and we didn't deal with their route one approach and Guy Bates punished us."

In the 23rd minute former Crues striker David Rainey used his head to make a goal-line clearance after Caddell thought his glancing header was destined for the net.

But two minutes later the breakthrough arrived when Owens nodded in from close range following Chris Morrow's corner. Glenavon disputed the awarding of the corner after Joshua Robinson collided with keeper John Connolly but their defence was napping as Owens produced the decisive touch to clock up his 100th Crusaders goal.

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton said: "Our subs behind the goal said it was a blatant foul and if not it should have been a by-ball. Week in, week out we see goalkeepers getting protected but we were denied a blatant free-kick."

He added: "Towards the end of the game we looked like the only team who would win it but a draw was a fair result. I knew we would score at some stage and I knew we would keep going to the death."

On 53 minutes the Crues doubled their lead when Timmy Adamson was given too much time and space in front of goal and the striker powered home a sublime finish.

In the 75th minute Bates drilled a low shot on target and will claim the goal even though David Magowan got the final touch before the ball crossed the line.

Within a minute it was 2-2. A Gareth McKeown shot was blocked by Morrow in the penalty area but the ball rebounded back to Bates who rifled in a low shot into the net.

Glenavon were flying at this moment and Ciaran Martyn scooped the ball over the woodwork from close range.

In the 87th minute Lurgan Blues assistant boss Paul Millar was sent off for hotly disputing an offside call but Hamilton had sympathy with his comrade, saying: "Emotions are high and sometimes common sense should prevail. Sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment and if I'm ever wrong I'll apologise to referees.

"I'd like them to be big enough to do the same. I believe a mistake was made for Crusaders' first goal. We all get things wrong sometimes but I'll respect anyone who apologises."

GLENAVON: Connolly, Neill (Patton 56), Murphy, Lindsay, Bates, Rainey, McGrory (Hamilton 63), Marshall, McKeown, McCabe, Martyn. Unused subs: McCallion, Kilmartin, Gardiner.

CRUSADERS: O'Neill, Leeman, Magowan, McClean, Morrow, Robinson, Caddell, Snoddy, Heatley, Adamson (McCutcheon 81), Owens. Unused subs: King, McMaster, Hanley, Cleary.

Referee: Hugh Carvill (Belfast).

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