Jordan Owens’ 18th goal this season sent Crusaders joint top of the Carling Premiership with current champions Linfield on Saturday - the title race now well and truly back on.
Seaview boss Stephen Baxter summed the result up first afterwards.
“I thought we were magnificent today, our first half performance was good as we have played all season,” he said.
“One goal might have been three, our dominance and possession was ninety percent — our goalkeeper was redundant in the match.”
Home boss Tommy Wright also hit the spot when commenting on his side’s display as they look over their shoulder at the pack chasing those two last top-six spots.
“We did work, we did compete with them but in the whole game we maybe put the ball in Crusaders’ box six times and they would have out it in our box sixty times.
“We have struggled over the last two games to make chances — we over-elaborate at times having got ourselves into good positions and there is absolutely no final product through bad decision making and a bad final ball.
“I want to get into the top six and if we do it will be a magnificent achievement.
“If we fall short, we fall short — the target at the start of the season wasn’t top six, it couldn’t have been (given the club’s financial issues) so the players have done extremely well to get us into the position that we are in but they must realise that there is a big prize of a top six place and we have to try to push for it.”
Crusaders could have had added more although the Whites had improved defensively since last week and keeper Phil Matthews gave his side a chance with a number of good saves.
But that tremendous run since defeat at Windsor by Linfield on January 4 has aptly rewarded Baxter’s men.
Joint top now, the question is can they go on and win the title?
Baxter was, perhaps understandably, keeping things firmly in perspective.
“There are too many big games of football to play before it all shakes out” was his measured response.
“But for me it is just important that we keep ourselves in there. Whilst Linfield have lost today, they have a game in hand, they have a better goal difference so it is still a mountain to climb, but if you had said to me that you will be going into the last seven games three or four points behind, I would have broke your arm for it.
“So we are pleased with what we are doing but we will only concentrate on what we can do — we can’t start focusing on everything else that is going on all around us, we must keep the team working hard.
“When you have boys as hungry as what we have got at the moment, they are capable on their day but you can’t make wild predictions.”