Morrow’s the star as Crues ease past woeful Glenavon
Glenavon 0-4 Crusaders
This was another Chris Morrow show, but even better than his Man-of-the-Match performance against Coleraine in the final of the IRN-BRU League Cup final.
On that occasion, he scored the only goal against the team whom the Crues will now face in the JJB Sports Irish Cup quarter-finals.
To put it simply, Morrow was head and shoulders above the rest even though on the day there were no failures in Stephen Baxter’s line-up.
It was a magnificent all-round performance which left Glenavon a well beaten side. It was hard to believe that last time the Crues visited Mourneview Park they went home with their tails between their legs.
There was never going to be a repeat of that pulsating 3-2 victory and home boss Gary Hamilton was forced to concede: “It was embarrassing.”
Morrow opened the scoring just short of the half hour with a cracking cross shot, thundered home a header to make it 2-0 on 71 minutes then set up the other two for David Rainey and second-half sub Jordan Owens.
Even though they trailed at half-time to that superb Morrow strike, Glenavon were still in the game, but the passion and commitment shown in previous games under Hamilton seemed to have disappeared.
While Hamilton was justified in his condemnation of an inept performance by his men, there was no disguising the huge gap in quality between the sides.
Hardly surprising perhaps considering the fact that 25 points separates the teams in the Carling Premiership table.
Crusaders are on the fringes of the title race in fifth place and they have already one trophy in the bag. They now look hell bent on going all the way in a bid to make it a unique double.
While Hamilton was naturally downbeat, Baxter was hardly reluctant to sing the praises of his men and paid a special tribute to Golden Boy Morrow.
Baxter beamed: “I was really pleased. I felt we dominated possession throughout.
“Last time we came here, we had our bums smacked so we knew we had to stick to our task.
“We made sure we were defensively strong and got the ball to our clinical players.
“Glenavon tried to press the game which they had to and that opened up a lot of space and we might have scored three or four more goals.
“It’s a hard place to come to, but we were clinical and professional and got the job done, running out worthy winners.”
And Baxter needed no encouragement to hail the qualities of Morrow.
He said: “We’ve known about Morrow for a long time. He’s 26 and has been crippled by injuries for the best part of two seasons.
“He has suffered a leg break and an ankle dislocation but we’re beginning to see the real Chris Morrow.
“He’s working hard on his fitness away from the ground and he’s getting stronger and stronger.”
Home boss Hamilton refused tom take anything away from his opponents but insisted: “We didn’t work hard enough to stop them playing.
“This was a big opportunity missed when you look at the teams left in the competition. We won’t get an opportunity like this again.
“I hope the players take a hard look at themselves and have a think about their performance which was unacceptable.”
JJB Sports Irish Cup Quarter-Final Draw
Coleraine v Crusaders
Donegal Celtic v Dungannon
Linfield v Coagh/Newbuildings
Newry City v Ballymena United