Watch: Heatley slams Glentoran tactics after Crusaders earn narrow win at Seaview
Crusaders had to overcome 12 men to gain all three points on Saturday afternoon, according to key man Paul Heatley.
It was the inspirational attacker who provided a piece of magic to twirl away from his marker and tee up Jordan Forsythe for an equally impressive finish and the only goal of a boisterous game against Glentoran.
Afterwards, Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter slammed Glentoran's tactics - which he says were to 'kick people off the football park' - and Glens manager Gary Haveron admitted his side 'put it up to the Crues and they didn't like it'.
Heatley was equally unimpressed with the visitors' style and referee Steven Gregg's performance after Howard Beverland was sent off for two yellow cards but the attacker did say that the three points were all the sweeter.
"They came out with a tactic in mind to rough us up a lot and they did that throughout the game. It took us a while to adapt to it. Eventually we managed to show our class and rise above rather than lower ourselves to that style of play," he said.
"The referee was far from helpful on our side, we felt like every decision was going their way. We got bookings against us that were really harsh while their players went unpunished. It felt like we were playing against 12 men at times.
"We had to battle against every opposition out there and thankfully we managed to rise above, get that goal and see the game out comfortably. Even with Howard being sent off, it was still quite baffling at times. The ball was kicked off him and it's every harsh. We'll move on and be grateful that we got the three points."
Heatley also praised winning scorer Forsythe, who now has five goals for the Premiership season.
"He's in fine form," said Heatley. "Every season he's with us he improves dramatically and this season's no different. He's really chipping in with goals, his defensive work is fantastic and he's starting to really develop his all-round play now. He's being managed and coached really well and I'm sure there's a lot more to come from him."
Belfast Telegraph Digital