Belfast Telegraph

Lacroix launches Crusaders towards derby semi

Lisburn Distillery 1 Crusaders 1 (AET Crusaders won 4-3 on penalties)

By David Hunter

French goalkeeper Yohann Lacroix was the penalty shoot-out hero for Crusaders as the Seaview side booked their place in the semi-finals of the Irish Cup.

The Crues were pegged back by Lisburn Distillery after Jordan Owens' opening goal and secured their passage with a 4-3 win on penalties.

Lacroix, who signed in January, made two vital saves to as the Whites missed their first two penalties and it was left to Joshua Robinson to seal the win that sees Crusaders play north Belfast rivals Cliftonville in the semi-finals at The Oval on Saturday April 6.

Whites goalkeeper Lee Windrum was in top form as early as the fourth minute when he made a great one-handed save to keep out an Owens header. Declan Caddell crossed deep and Owens looked odds-on to score, but Windrum's outstretched arm was vital.

Paul Heatley sent a shot wide of Windrum's far post before the Whites survived a goal-mouth scramble.

Lacroix then parried a free-kick from Jonny Harkness; Jordan Hughes eventually scuffing an effort wide.

Windrum made another good save from Timmy Adamson on 25 minutes, stretching to tip away the strikers volley. It looked like Caddell would have the simple task of heading the rebound home, but he slipped and the ball bizarrely went over him and out to safety.

A great pass from Hughes saw Dominic Melly break clear, but Lacroix was down on the edge of his box to save. In added time Robinson's free-kick was blocked by the Whites' wall.

Crusaders took the lead seven minutes into the second half. A ball forward went over Aaron Smyth and Owens fired low past Windrum.

The home side didn't give up and levelled on 74 minutes, substitute Mikey Withers finishing at the near post following good play on the right by Scott Davidson.

Davidson almost bagged a late winner with three minutes remaining. Aaron Traynor sent him clear but his shot from the edge of the box fizzed over the cross-bar.

Extra-time drew a blank before Lacroix saved from Davidson and Ryan McCann whilst Morrow and David Rainey scored their penalties for the Crues.

Harkness, Michael Halliday and Phil Simpson all scored for the Whites before Adamson missed. Craig McClean then scored and Robinson stepped up to send Crusaders through.

Lisburn Distillery: Windrum, Smyth, Hunter, Simpson, Harkness, Davidson, Gordon (Traynor 66), McCann, Melly, Hughes (Withers 66) Halliday. Subs: Brennan, Ferguson, Fegan.

Crusaders: Lacroix, King (McAllister 46), Magowan, Leeman, McClean, Morrow, Robinson, Caddell, Adamson, Owens (Rainey 72), Heatley. Subs: McBride, McMaster, Snoddy.

Referee: Mark Courtney (Dungannon).

Belfast Telegraph


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