Crusaders answered questions in victory over Glentoran, says Jordan Forsythe
Crusaders 1 Glentoran 0
Goal hero Jordan Forsythe insists Crusaders had to show the ugly side of their game to dig out another three crucial league points at Seaview on Saturday.
The midfielder bagged the second half winner against a battling Glentoran which helped extend the Crues’ unbeaten run to 12 games.
It’s always a feisty affair when these clubs meet — and this one was right on the money. It was littered with meaty challenges, off-the-ball scuffles and some nasty brawls that even extended until after final whistle.
Crusaders, in fact, had to see out the final 14 minutes with only 10 men, having had defender Howard Beverland dismissed for foolishly preventing the Glens from a taking a quick free kick.
So, it wasn’t the flamboyant, swashbuckling Crusaders that we have become accustomed to.
Instead, they were forced to bare their title teeth with a display of steel, guts and ruthless determination.
“It proves we have the ability to dig out a win when it’s needed,” declared Forsythe.
“That was the sort of game we were thrilled to get the three points from, because we had to grind them out. Yes, it’s nice to win with a bit of style, scoring four or five goals, but it’s not going to happen like that every week.
“This was the type of game that asked questions of the squad — can we dig in and get a result? I think we answered those questions.
“The likes of Mark McChrystal, Howard Beverland and Sean Ward have been about this league for many years — they know how to dig in and get the job done.
“It was important to get the victory to keep us in contention with Coleraine. We are now 12 games unbeaten. As we know from last year, things can turn very quickly.
“The league table doesn’t mean much at this time of the year. We’ll keep taking one game at a time, looking to bank the points from every one of them.
“We’ll not become carried away. There are still a lot of games up ahead, especially over the Festive period. It’s a long hard season.
“We are happy the way we are playing at the minute, we just need to keep that going.”
The Crues did produce the game’s most telling moment then little Paul Heatley twisted and turned away from two challenges before picking out Forsythe, whose 20 yard drive crept past Elliott Morris.
“That’s seven for the season and my fifth league goal,” he added. “It’s nice to score, but the result was more important.
“We knew it would be tough because Glentoran had a poor result against Ards last week and we knew they would react. The gaffer warned us what to expect. But it’s always tough against the Glens.
“We had the bit of quality in the final third to trouble them. In saying that, they troubled us in the first half. I thought we were lucky to come in at half-time with the game still scoreless.
“They were in our faces right from the start. They set up to try and stop us playing our normal game, but we got there in the end.”
Bullish Glentoran boss Gary Haveron insisted his team did enough to win the game, reflecting on two glaring first half missed chances by Robbie McDaid and Calum Birney.
Even after walking around Crues goalkeeper Brian Jensen, McDaid still failed to find the net, while minutes later Birney arrived at the back post to head a Marcus Kane cross into the side netting.
And, in the second half, Eric Foley forced Jensen into the save of the game from thundering 20 yard free kick.
“We could have been three goals up at half time,” moaned Haveron.
“We came here and put it up to the Crues and they didn’t like it.
“Our problem this season has been putting the ball in the net and that was again evident. But I couldn’t complain about the performance, I thought the boys were excellent and really deserved to win the game.
“Crusaders were content to run the game down, taking the ball into the corner and wasting as much time as possible. We haven’t been taking our chances when we have been well on top in games and we have been punished for it.
“We had two really big opportunities — Robbie and Calum failed to put them away early on. I don’t want to put the blame on Robbie as worked his socks off.
“But strikers need to be scoring goals, especially for their confidence levels.”
Crusaders: Jensen, Burns, McChrystal, Beverland, Brown, Ward, Caddell, Forsythe, Heatley, Whyte, Owens.
Unused subs: Dougherty, Cushley, McClean, Snoddy, Glackin.
Glentoran: Morris, Kane, Birney, Addis, Foley, Kelly (Smith, 74 mins), Davidson, Kerr, K Nelson, McCawl (O’Neill, 84 mins), McDaid. Unused subs: McMullan, D Nelson, Ferrin.
Man of the match: Jordan Forsythe
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Steven Gregg (Ballyclare)