David Rainey’s strike on the half-hour ensured that Crusaders remain top of the Carling Premiership and whilst Seaview boss Stephen Baxter knows it’s a marathon rather than a sprint, he’s happy with the first 100 metres his side has covered so far.
“It’s great to be top,” beamed Baxter afterwards.
“We are into the season now, we have run down the first 100 metres and now we have to keep the running going round the big track.
“You look back after nine or ten games in and say ‘What sort of start have we made?’ and we have made a good start.
“But it is only a start and there is a long, long way to go but I would rather have all those points on the board as be looking for them.”
That latter position is where Lisburn Distillery currently find themselves — rock bottom and eight points adrift.
They have been more solid, and performances have improved distinctly in their last two games and that will be the base that new boss Tommy Wright will want to start his ascent of the table from.
Rainey hit the post on sixteen minutes before Stephen McBride cleared off the visitor’s line after Gary Thompson had tested keeper Chris Keenan and the ball arced up over the keeper and goal-ward.
After the break, Crusaders Declan Caddell headed over, Chris Morrow headed onto the bar, and after Rory Hamill miskicked in front of goal for the home side, Rainey had a goal disallowed.
Baxter had made a number of changes to his side as he explained: “The boys have all played a lot of hard games in the last few months from the European adventure so there have been a few tired legs about us, so I felt it was time to freshen up things a bit so Declan Caddell came into day and was simply magnificent.
“We changed our shape a little bit and worked really, really hard at what we had to do, worked to a game-plane and came away with three very valuable points.”
On the performance itself he added: “I was felt comfortable when you have people like Colin Coates and David Magowan in there — we were heading them out.
“They didn’t threaten us at all, didn’t get in behind us once all day and I thought we were really good and that’s what these guys are paid to do — the defenders defend and the goal-scorers score goals.
“So I didn’t feel (we were) under any pressure particularly and I am very pleased with what we contributed up front.
“The boys done well.”
The Crues’ boss indicated that he will again make one or two changes to his line-up for Tuesday night’s County Antrim Shield game against Larne.
While Whites boss Wright meets up with his squad at training tonight before a tough clash against Cliftonville in the same competition tomorrow evening.