More to come from Crusaders after Dungannon Swifts win: Stephen Baxter
Crusaders 4 Dungannon 0
Stephen Baxter insists there is more to come from Crusaders after the champions ended the opening month by posting their third straight win.
Baxter believes his side have another 25% in them - despite a four-goal victory over Dungannon which lifted them up to third.
"I personally feel we are at about 75% of last year at the moment," he said. "We were a bit slow out of the blocks but we've started to pick up now and are looking a wee bit sharper."
That was evident on Saturday as Crusaders laboured for long spells against a hard-working Dungannon side.
They missed a host of chances before Josh Robinson broke the deadlock late in the first half.
The defender headed home from close range after a corner had been directed back into his path. But it was only after Jordan Owens made it 2-0 with the first of his double in the 65th minute that the Crues could relax. This time Robinson turned provider, pumping a long free-kick into the box.
Goalkeeper Andy Coleman came out to meet the ball but Owens got there first, heading into the unguarded net.
Owens was then allowed to dance past two defenders en route to scoring the third.
Their final goal did have a touch of class, Matthew Snoddy playing a one-two with sub Jordan Forsythe before firing home.
The Crues now face the top two - Cliftonville this weekend before Linfield visit Seaview on September 12.
Dungannon boss Darren Murphy felt poor defending had made this an easier win than it should have been for Crusaders.
He admitted his side need to become more streetwise in their play.
CRUSADERS: O'Neill, Burns, Coates (Mitchell, 76), Robinson, McClean, Snoddy, Clarke, Whyte (Forsythe, 64), O'Carroll, Owens (Carvill, 79), Heatley
Subs not used: Stewart, Vauls
DGN SWIFTS: Coleman, Montgomery, Mullan, Armstrong, McCaffrey, Fitzpatrick (Mitchell, 63), Harpur, Teggart (Liggett, 68), Glackin (McCullough, 80), Burke, McElroy
Subs not used: Lowe, Addis
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)