Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders knock Breda to set up derby against Cliftonville

Crusaders 2 Knockbreda 1

Decisive: Rodney Brown
Decisive: Rodney Brown

By Graham Luney

County Antrim Shield holders Crusaders were made to sweat in their first-round clash with Knockbreda but survived a scare to set up a north Belfast derby showdown with Cliftonville in the quarter-finals.

Championship side Knockbreda conjured up a first-half equaliser to make it 1-1 but Stephen Baxter's side saw the job through with a Rodney Brown header proving decisive.

It wasn't vintage Crusaders, who overcame Ballymena United 4-2 in last season's final, but it was enough to see off the east Belfast minnows.

The Hatchetmen didn't have it all their own way in the opening half and were frustrated at the break with the tie poised at 1-1.

Former Ballymena United ace Gary Thompson fired the Crues in front on 19 minutes, pouncing on the rebound after a David Cushley effort.

Smyth denied Cushley but the Crues were rocked in the 35th minute when Brendan Bennett turned sharply and blasted the ball past Harry Doherty from 10 yards.

After the break, Smyth made a stunning save from Rory Patterson as the home side turned up the heat. And the pressure told as Brown powered a header into the net to edge the Crues in front seven minutes into the second half.

Smyth foiled Ross Clarke who then rattled the crossbar after a neat set-up from Patterson but the Crues march on.

The last eight clash with the Reds will be on Tuesday, October 23 at Seaview.

It will be a much bigger test for the Shore Road men who must now focus on breathing fresh life into their Danske Bank Premiership title defence.

Belfast Telegraph


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