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Stephen Baxter mystified by ghost booking as 10-man Crusaders fall to defeat at Glenavon

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Crusaders’ Robbie Weir is shown a red card at Mourneview Park. Credit: Alan Weir

Crusaders’ Robbie Weir is shown a red card at Mourneview Park. Credit: Alan Weir

Crusaders’ Robbie Weir is shown a red card at Mourneview Park. Credit: Alan Weir

As Stephen Baxter made his way home from Mourneview Park on Saturday evening he was still asking questions over the red card shown to Robbie Weir.

He was, however, in no doubt as to the impact the mysterious dismissal of his right back had on the game as Crusaders fell to a late 1-0 defeat to Glenavon.

That’s despite Declan Caddell having the ball in the net and Paul Heatley rattling the crossbar when he looked certain to score within 10 minutes of being reduced to 10 men.

Referee Evan Boyce produced a yellow card when Weir fouled Peter Campbell midway through the second half and followed it with a red. Crusaders were stunned by that decision as no-one from the Seaview side was aware of Weir previously being booked.

It was from another Crues attack that Glenavon countered five minutes from time. Sean Ward drove forward slipped the ball out to Andy Hall on the wing and his low delivery found Matthew Fitzpatrick, who finished first time to clinch the three points.

Glenavon’s numerical advantage very much came into play in that incident, according to Baxter.

“Going down to 10 men always stretches you and that is why the game opened up, because they were attacking us thinking they had spotted the weakness and thought they could get at us,” said the Crusaders manager.

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“Declan makes what looks like a good run and slides in and scores the goal — that’s going to be fine margins whether that is a goal or not.

“Paul Heatley should really score. You can’t miss those chances when you are in from six yards.

“Paul got caught offside trying again to get in to score the goal and then we got done down the right with a big overload.

“It is really disappointing to have to play 25 minutes with 10 men to a controversial decision over whether someone should have been sent off and then to lose it in the manner we have.”

The doubt over Weir’s first yellow card surrounds an incident in the 33rd minute. Television replays show Chris Hegarty committing a foul on Fitzpatrick close to the touchline and although Weir and Campbell were close to the incident Hegarty was the closest Crusaders player to referee Boyce when he brandished his yellow card.

Oddly, the Glenavon coaching staff’s instructions to the players at half time was to get the ball to Campbell when they could as Weir had been booked.

“It’s a great three points and it’s great to follow up Tuesday’s win with another one,” said Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton.

GLENAVON: Taylor, Ward, Birney, Wallace, Singleton, Garrett, Snoddy, O’Connor (Hall 62), Campbell, Fitzpatrick, Waterworth.

Unused subs: Stafford, A Doyle, Beggs, Harmon, Hunter, J Doyle.

CRUSADERS: Tuffey, Weir, Hegarty (Owens 89), Robinson, O’Rourke, Forsythe, Caddell, Clarke (Lowry 62), Kennedy, Lecky (McMurray 62), Heatley.

Unused subs: O’Neill, Frazer, Patterson, Thompson.

Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)

Man of the match: Matthew Snoddy

Match rating: 6/10


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