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Hegarty drawing comfort after Crues are held again

Crusaders 1 Dungannon Swifts 1

By Graham Luney

Former Linfield defender Chris Hegarty played his part in a constructive weekend for his old employers by denying Crusaders victory at Seaview.

The 25-year-old is now Dungannon Swifts' top scorer with three goals and his glancing header from a Paul McElroy corner in the 73rd minute, just two minutes after a Jordan Owens' opener, condemned the Crues to a second successive Premiership draw at Seaview.

Now five points behind league leaders Coleraine, Stephen Baxter's side are far from their ruthless best and Hegarty taught them a lesson in how to finish.

"I feel like we soaked up pressure petty well, they had chances but not clear cut ones," said the ex-Rangers starlet.

"Paul (McElroy) had a good chance and we created a few as well, I felt our character was outstanding.

"Every player stood up to the physical challenge which you need to do and the players gave it everything. If you come to Seaview and go home with a point you should be pretty happy.

"We had belief, we believed in ourselves even after they scored. We created corners and I enjoy heading the ball defensively and going forward, it's paying off for me. Our attitude, commitment and team spirit has shone through and will stand us in good stead throughout the season. Davy Armstrong was super, Liam McMenamin has proved a lot of people wrong, as a unit we are good and Paul McElroy is working hard up front, his confidence and goals will come. Crusaders are a superb side and we now have a performance and result to build on."

Swifts boss Rodney McAree said: "That's right, Chris Hegarty is our top goal scorer, I'm sure he will let us know about it on the way home!

"The delivery from Paul McElroy was exceptional, he performed well as a lone striker and worked his socks off.

"Our response after going 1-0 down was one of the most pleasing aspects our performance, sometimes here teams can crumble but we forced corners and then scored."

Crues bossBaxter and his players had a painful post match discussion and the one crumb of comfort is their next match isn't at Seaview - it's on the road at Glentoran.

"Our football and our pressure says a team will suffer eventually," said Baxter. "You must, however, compliment others. Rodney McAree has been in the game a long time and he knows what you need to do to stay in games. I don't see too many teams getting beat four, five, six anymore, you have to fight for what you get."

Crusaders: Jensen, Burns, Coates, Ward, Brown, Lowry, Caddell, Forsythe (Carvill 80) Glackin (Cushley 63), Whyte, Owens. Subs (not used): Beverland, McClean, Snoddy.

Dungannon Swifts: Addis, Hegarty, Wilson, Armstrong, Mayse (Fitzpatrick 84), McElroy, O'Rourke (Teggart 45), Lowe, McMenamin, Burke, Hutchinson, (Harpur 70). Subs (not used): Coleman, McMahon.

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown).

Belfast Telegraph

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