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Crusaders 1 Glentoran 0

A moment of class from Crusaders striker Michael Halliday was enough to sink the striker’s old club as Glentoran’s concerning winless streak was stretched to three matches.

Facing his former colleagues for the first time since his summer move to Seaview, Halliday netted with a neat back-heel after a great cross from man of the match Chris Morrow just before half time.

But the striker. who has now scored four times in as many games, sportingly refused to celebrate the strike, instead leaving the hugging to his colleagues.

“I left Glentoran on the best of terms and I understand the reasons why I couldn’t remain at the Oval,” he explained.

“To me, this was just another goal and luckily it got us the win — and no way was I going to rub their noses in it.

“You come into a new club and you want to do well. You feel you’ve got a point to prove, you want to show the people you can still do a job — you don’t want to be regarded as the ex-Glentoran striker.

“I want to do a job for Crusaders so that the fans here at Seaview will remember me as well.”

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Halliday admitted it felt a bit strange playing against his former clubmates for the first time after his 10 years at the Oval.

“Well I’ll probably be up against them many more times, but it’s good to get the first one out of the way”, he said.

“I’m just happy we won the game and as far as I’m concerned the fact that I scored was just the way it worked out — it could have been anyone considering the chances we created in the first half when I thought we were the better side.

“But I thought in the second half Glentoran were the more likely to score than we were.

“We did well to hold out with 10 men for the final 15 minutes.”

Halliday paid tribute to Morrow, who made the vital run down the right flank in the 44th minute, rounding defender Johnny Black before crossing into the six yard zone for Halliday to put it away with a deft back-heel.

“I think he confused Johnny Black, who thought he was going to shoot and was trying to put his body in the way of it but instead he played a great ball into the box to give me that scoring opportunity.”

The second half saw the Crues reduced to 10 men when Declan Caddell was shown a red by referee Arnold Hunter after he chased Sean Ward who had beaten him to the ball and brought the defender to the deck with a robust challenge from behind.

Crues’ boss Stephen Baxter was adamant Hunter was absolutely spot-on to have dismissed his player, whom he branded as ‘stupid’ for making the lunge and giving the official no choice but to send him for an early bath.

“It was the right decision — and I told the referee that afterwards,” he said.

“Declan was two yards away from the ball . He dived at Ward, it was stupidity of the highest order.”

However Crusaders held on to withstand the expected Glentoran onslaught to win it — and reduce Glentoran’s lead at the top to a single point.

“We should have been out of sight by 10 country miles by half time — the chances we created and our domination should have had everything done and dusted by the interval,” added Baxter.

“All of our players I thought were outstanding — tigerish, all round the park — but if I have to pick anyone out

I’d select Michael Halliday, what a performance he gave. And let’s not forget Chris Morrow, superb. In fact, I thought we were awesome all over.”

Oval boss Scott Young made no attempt to hide his disappointment.

“Our first half performance was nothing short of a disgrace,” he blasted.

“They were the better team in the first half, although we had our own opportunities and it just didn’t happen.

“True, we’ve a lot of inexperienced young players at the club and a long injury list but that’s no excuse.

“Crusaders were the hungrier team. Now I’m looking for a big response on Tuesday night in our home game against Portadown.”


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