Belfast Telegraph

Paul Heatley taking nothing for granted as Crusaders march on

By Adrian Rutherford

Paul Heatley insists Crusaders won't look beyond the next game - despite taking another big step towards the title with Friday's 2-1 defeat of Dungannon Swifts.

The Crues are nine points clear at the top and big favourites to land a third straight Gibson Cup.

But Heatley, who scored the opener at Stangmore Park, said they won't be distracted from the task in hand.

Next up is a game against basement side Portadown - and that is his sole focus.

"We'll take nothing for granted - we always just take things one game at a time," Heatley insisted.

"I don't even pay attention to the other teams.

"As long as we look after ourselves, everything else will look after itself.

"We were happy with Friday night, it was another good result, and now we just turn our focus to the next game."

Heatley headed in the opener after 10 minutes, with Colin Coates adding a second later in the half.

Dungannon pulled one back late on through Cormac Burke, but the Crues held on.

"To score another goal and get the three points - it was a great night all round," added Heatley.

"We came here focused on making sure we got three points and we put in a hell of a performance to grind them out.

"I think it was really well deserved in the end."

Aside from claiming his goal, Coates had an impressive game at the back alongside Howard Beverland.

The pair frustrated Dungannon, including star striker Andrew Mitchell, who was back after three weeks out with an ankle injury.

Afterwards Crues boss Stephen Baxter praised his side's defensive record.

And Heatley added: "I think every team, when there is two goals in it and they pull a goal back, they are always going to put you under pressure.

"It's very easy to launch a ball 40 or 50 yards and put it on top of your goalkeeper, but our defence was outstanding - Colin Coates in particular and Howard as well.

"They have been superb all season and they certainly showed their class today."

This was Dungannon's fourth league loss in five games - putting a major dent in their top six ambitions.

• Crusaders goalkeeper Sean O'Neill and his girlfriend Niamh are celebrating the birth of their daughter Orah

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