Crusaders 3 Cliftonville 1
Crusaders breathed fresh life into their title challenge by grabbing the north Belfast bragging rights and now Timmy Adamson is looking forward to a pulsating battle at shock table-toppers Ballinamallard United on Saturday.
The Crues make the long trek to Fermanagh aiming to embarrass league leaders for the second week running after shooting down their neighbours in convincing fashion.
First half goals from Adamson and Jordan Owens had the hosts buzzing at the break and the last nail in the visitors’ coffin was hammered in by Gary McCutcheon in the 57th minute before Liam Boyce pulled one back for the Reds.
Former Linfield and Dungannon frontman Adamson thought the ball struck his shinguard before disappearing into the net but there was nothing unfortunate about the comfortable home win.
The high-flying Mallards will be a difficult proposition on their own slick surface but Crusaders, with their frontmen looking menacing, will believe they can make it three league wins on the spin.
“I thought we were good all round the park against Cliftonville,” said Adamson. “We stood up to a tough opponent. We knew they would make it very hard for us but we battled and took our chances when they came.
“It was the same as the Glentoran game, 2-0 up at half-time and we defended very well in both games. We switched off near the end when I let (Jody) Lynch go for their goal but other than that we were solid.
“I think my goal came off my shinguard but as long as it goes into the back of the net you’re happy with it.
“Ballinamallard deserve to be top of the league and it’s been an outstanding season for them so far. They made it very difficult for us here (at Seaview) and, although we managed to win, they were strong and we know how tough it will be down there.”
Adamson operated on the right side of midfield but his sixth goal of the season came from the heart of the penalty area after a Paul Heatley corner.
“I’m not quite Ryan Giggs,” admitted Adamson, “though I am a bit quicker than him! No, I’ll play anywhere the manager wants me to and I was just filling in to do a job.”