Carrick Rangers 1 Crusaders 5
Niall Currie believes Carrick Rangers were playing the Premiership champions-elect on Saturday but didn't use that an excuse for his under-performing players as Crusaders eased into the last eight of the Irish Cup.
The Rangers boss tore into his men at half-time after conceding "three really poor goals" and it got no better in the second half as Reece Neale deflected a Paul Heatley cross into his own net and Jordan Owens rose above a static defence to head in his second of the afternoon.
"It wasn't a 3-1 game at half-time," insisted Currie, "but we shot ourselves in the foot.
"The first goal was avoidable, the second goal was schoolboy stuff and the third was a shocker. (Jordan) Forsythe slips when he gets the ball but still has time to get up and slide the ball into the corner while our defenders watch him. It's an Irish Cup game, you need more than that and we made it a comfortable afternoon for them.
"But we are all in it together, we have over-performed in a lot of games and now we have to get basics and make us hard to beat again."
In truth, while many of the big teams have struggled on the bumpy Loughshore Hotel Arena pitch, Crusaders have always come out on the right side. On their last nine visits, they have scored 36 goals - losing only once - and, unlike their opponents, Stephen Baxter watched the cup holders deliver.
"We came here with a hungry attitude and we did that in spades," said the Crues boss.
"We were really on it. The early goal (in the fourth minute from Jordan McGonigle) settled us down well."
It has been a relatively quiet transfer window for Baxter, but it looks like he could have unearthed a gem in Cameron Dummigan, signed from Dundalk but with 74 games for Oldham Athletic on his CV.
"He has played at a high level in England and will take a while to get adjusted to the Irish League style but he will turn into a super player," enthused Baxter.
"He's only 23 years old and has been on his winter break with only 45 minutes of a pre-season friendly with Dundalk. But he's had a couple of weeks' training with us and I thought this was the right game to get him started."
He also chose to rest Paul Heatley and Philip Lowry but, unfortunately for Carrick, Heatley was introduced after just 17 minutes because of an injury to Ross Clarke. He duly ran the show but had to be satisfied with two assists.
Baxter's only gripe on the day was that their run of clean sheets was ended by a deflected effort from Lee Chapman.
"I gave off at half time, Jarlath (O'Rourke) lost his man on the edge of the box but, after one goal in seven games I can't be too hard on them," added Baxter.
CARRICK: Doherty, Rodgers, Surgenor, Loughran; Chapman (Smith, 70 mins), Anderson, Kelly, Faulkner (Cherry, 54 mins), Neale, Murray, Reynolds (Dunne, 54 mins). Unused subs: Nicholl, Carson, Magill, Hassin.
Crusaders: Doherty, Dummigan, Burns, Brown, O'Rourke, Forsythe; Caddell (Lowry, 65 mins), Thompson, Clarke (Heatley, 17 mins), McGonigle (Cushley, 76 mins), Owens. Unused subs: O'Neill, Beverland, Ruddy, McElroy.
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)
Man of the Match: Paul Heatley
Match rating: 6/10