Crusaders 1 Glenavon 0: Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter has confirmed that his star winger Martin Donnelly is on the transfer list.
The Northern Ireland international has failed to agree a new deal at Seaview and Baxter now expects the 23-year-old to leave.
The Crues boss was smiling after his 10-men edged out Glenavon 1-0 in front of the Sky Sports cameras, but he couldn’t hide his disappointment at the Donnelly contract saga.
“Regrettably, Martin has been placed on the transfer list,” said Baxter. “We have made him the best offer we can as a football club, but the funds are very tight.
“We don’t have room to manoeuvre, but we have made him the top paid player at the club and it’s a huge regret that he doesn’t want to accept that offer.”
Donnelly played a part in the Crues winner and Baxter added: “I’m thrilled with the result and I think we thoroughly deserved it.
“We had big performances from many players and we fully justified the three points.”
Michael Halliday’s 10th goal of the season killed off a Lurgan Blues side who failed to take advantage of David Magowan’s 31st minute dismissal.
Glenavon boss Marty Quinn slammed his troops for producing an “abysmal performance”.
“We didn’t ask them questions when they went down to 10 men and it was a real lacklustre showing,” he said.
The game exploded into life on 31 minutes. Gary Hamilton’s progress towards goal when chasing a Sammy Stewart flick-on was halted when Magowan tugged the striker back and he received a straight red card from referee Stephen Weatherall.
The winner arrived on 69 minutes when Colin Coates’ looping header from Donnelly’s corner flew over keeper Andrew Plummer and dropped on the goal-line before Halliday poked the ball into the net.
CRUSADERS: Keenan, McKeown, McBride, Magowan, Coates, Dallas (Rainey 84), Halliday, Donnelly, Morrow, Watson, Sweeney (McMaster 45). Subs: Arthurs, Bell, Gibson.
GLENAVON: Plummer, Shannon, Neill (Costello 62), Magee, Walsh, Molloy, Miskimmin (Grant 62), Haughey, Turkington, Stewart (Harpur 81), Hamilton. Subs: McDonagh, O’Carroll.
Referee: Stephen Weatherall (Belfast).