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Stephen Baxter hails 'incredible' Jack Patterson after 15-year-old Everton target made Crusaders history in win over Warrenpoint Town

Crusaders 4 Warrenpoint Town 0

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Jack Patterson

Jack Patterson

Jack Patterson

A new year's tale at Seaview was a story of the master and the apprentice as Paul Heatley's sensational 10-minute hat-trick sunk Warrenpoint Town and teenage sensation Jack Patterson made history.

Only 15 years and 78 days old, Patterson, a midfielder who is being monitored by Everton, became Crusaders' youngest ever player in a competitive fixture when he replaced goalscorer Adam Lecky in the 86th minute.

The talented teenager, a Ballyclare High student, has been continuing his development with the Club NI elite football programme and the former Greenisland ace played the full 90 minutes in a friendly against Ards last month.

On Saturday, he became the second youngest player to play in a league game since 2010 when Alex McMail turned out for Glenavon aged 15 years, 57 days.

At the other end of a footballers' journey is the magic feet of 33-year-old Heatley, while Billy Joe Burns who has now reached 500 games in his Irish League career and Declan Caddell made his 450th appearance for the Crues in this comfortable win.

Heatley may have grabbed the headlines but young Jack has emerged as another Crues diamond to watch.

"What a prospect the boy is," said boss Stephen Baxter after his side's 4-0 victory. "We saw the talent that was recommended to us by our youth academy director and in the few games he played for the under-20 side, he was outstanding.

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"We brought him into the first team and I thought he was an incredible player for his age. He's in training with us and if he's good enough, he's old enough. He has the talent and he will certainly be someone we will be talking about in the future."

While Jack remains on a steep learning curve, the sensational Heatley looks to have a new lease of life.

"What pleased me was he missed a few chances and it didn't affect his confidence," added Baxter, who saw Ross Clarke and Aidan Wilson suffer injuries.

"The work-rate of the man is incredible and we are delighted to have him here, his two finishes were superb. I also felt Jordan Forsythe in centre midfield was outstanding. His drive and reading of the game was brilliant and Adam (Lecky) was superb up front, leading the attack and linking the play. You need all the cogs in the wheel working."

Lecky opened the scoring and the big striker could have had a hat-trick of his own, but the sharpest finisher was Heatley who picked up a late injury - which should not keep him out of the derby with Cliftonville on Saturday - and he left Seaview with ice on his leg.

That ice should have been in a champagne glass.

Crusaders: Doherty, Burns, Hegarty, Wilson (Brown 23), Lowry, Caddell, Forsythe, O'Rourke, Lecky (Patterson 86), Heatley, Clarke (McGonigle 17). Subs not used: O'Neill, Weir, Kennedy, Cushley.

Warrenpoint Town: Coleman, Ball, McVeigh (Evans 66,), Dillon, McCaffrey, Gallagher, Swan, Knox (O'Sullivan), Hutchinson (Carroll 82), Wallace, Byrne. Subs (not used): McMullan, Cowan, Carson, Forsythe.

Referee: Jamie Robinson (Lurgan).

Man of match: Paul Heatley

Match rating: 7/10


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