Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders' boss Stephen Baxter so proud of two-goal Jordan Forsythe in Warrenpoint win

Warrenpoint 1 - Crusaders 3

By Gareth McCullough

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter heaped praise on Jordan Forsythe after the winger scored twice to help Crusaders stay five points clear at the top of the table following Saturday's 3-1 win over bottom side Warrenpoint Town.

After the Crues had gone in front courtesy of a seventh-minute Paul Heatley penalty, Forsythe finished off a slick attacking move to make it 2-0 at the break before he crashed home from 20 yards in the 66th minute to seal all three points for the visitors.

Warrenpoint had their chances throughout the match but it took them until 17 minutes from time to find the net with a cleverly taken free-kick from Daniel Hughes but it was Forsythe who took the plaudits from his manager.

"He was man of the match," beamed Baxter.

"His performance was absolutely excellent, he looked a lively player on the pitch and he looked like a man that was going to score the goals.

"He had a lot going for him and that form has been carried forward in the last three games. He's been absolutely excellent. It took him a little time to settle into it but he's got a grip of it and now he really looks like the real deal.

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"We lost on the opening day of the season and we haven't lost since then. That was August 8 and we're now coming towards the end of November so we're pleased with that. This is the time of year when I feel you just have to amalgamate the points and then you have to hope that when you get through the New Year's Day fixtures that you're in the hunt. Then it becomes a bit of a race.

"You're coming into the stadium if you like and you have to keep that momentum going. You have to be in and around it so at this moment in time, we have to be able to win in different styles and different ways."

Despite this being their 11th league defeat on the bounce, it was a much improved display from Warrenpoint and, with a JBE League Cup semi-final clash at home to Cliftonville to look forward to on December 15, Barry Gray is optimistic for the future if his charges can keep up this level of performance.

"We've put them out in a shape and a system in the last two games that we feel suits them and they work hard within it," said Gray.

"There are huge positives to take. Daniel's goal was classy, Conor McDonald went one on one with the keeper and he pulled off another great save in the second-half and you think, we've probably created more chances in 45 minutes of football than we have in the last month. That's good against a team like Crusaders because they are top of the league for a reason.

"We got a win on Wednesday night, a performance here and our boys are coming away from this match thinking 'we could have got something from that'. If we had clawed a draw out of it, I don't think anyone would have been too harsh on us.

"A lot of credit has to go to the boys but there's no point in churning out a performance on Wednesday night, another one here today and then leaving it all at home away to Dungannon next week."

WARRENPOINT: Shanahan, Bagnall, M Hughes, King, Donnelly, Kierans, McCabe, D Hughes, McDonald, Dane, Boyle. Unused subs: Murphy, S Hughes, Clarke, Murray, Moan.

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Magowan, Coates, McClean, Clarke (Caddell, 85 mins), Snoddy, Carvill (Robinson, 68 mins), Forsythe, Owens, Heatley. Unused subs: O'Carroll, O'Flynn, Whyte

Man of the match: Jordan Forsythe

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)

Belfast Telegraph


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