Crusaders 2 Ballinamallard United 1
Striker Timmy Adamson scored an unlikely hat-trick in Crusaders' 2-1 win over Ballinamallard United on Saturday.
The former Dungannon Swifts man opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a powerful volley into the top from just six yards out — but, unfortunately for him, it was past his own keeper Sean O'Neill.
Despite that, Adamson pulled himself together and put in a fine display, scoring either side of half-time to give Crusaders a richly deserved win.
“Timmy was man of the match today by a country mile,” said boss Stephen Baxter. “His work-rate, his finishing, his touch were all magnificent. It's the best he's played for the club.”
Reflecting on the performance, Baxter believes the Crues put in one of their best displays of the calender year.
He said: “We passed the ball brilliantly and played some incredible football at times. It was the best we've played in six months, we looked a class act.
“The game should have been out of sight in the first half — we missed a few good chances, hit the woodwork a couple of times, had two cleared off the line and Alvin Rouse made a couple of smarts saves.”
Whitey Anderson's side took the lead against the run of play in bizarre circumstances.
Chris Curran's corner was headed towards goal by Mark Stafford, but his effort was blocked by the Crusaders defence only for Adamson (pictured) to volley an attempted clearance firmly into his own net.
The hosts piled on the pressure and the equaliser finally arrived on 35 minutes when full-back David Gibson put the ball into the box from the right flank for Adamson to knock into the net — and this time he was in luck as goalkeeper Rouse allowed his tame effort to roll between his legs.
Crusaders continued their relentless forward pursuit into the second half and the winning goal arrived in the 49th minute when Aidan Watson spread the ball left to Gary McCutcheon, who whipped in a majestic cross for Adamson to power home from 10 yards.