Belfast Telegraph

It doesn't get much better than beating the Blues on Sky, beams Crusaders star

 

By Alex Mills

Crusaders' Gavin Whyte may have walked off with the man of the match award after his team's thumping win over Linfield on Monday, but he insisted the three points were more important.

Stephen Baxter's men turned in a five-star performance, which resulted in Linfield crashing to their third successive Danske Bank Premiership defeat and already falling ten points behind league leaders Coleraine.

Whyte was the tormentor in chief as the Blues conceded five times at home for the first time in 23 years - all in front of a live Sky Sports television audience.

The flying winger was on the mark along with Paul Heatley and Philip Lowry, while Linfield defensive pair Mark Stafford and Jimmy Callacher both shot into their own net.

Although Stafford and Aaron Burns replied for the off-colour champions, it was a game they were always chasing.

"I may have got the man of the match award, but to me the three points were more important," said Whyte. "It doesn't get much better than beating the Blues so well in front of the live television cameras. Linfield are a great side, they are tough to beat on their home pitch. I think that's their first defeat at Windsor since January, so we have to be happy with that."

After some stuttering displays, in which the Crues dropped points at home against teams in the league's lower regions - Ards and Dungannon Swifts - Whyte insists the performance at Windsor was a statement of their intent.

He said: "Linfield are the champions. Any team that beats them and scores five at Windsor, it is a bit of a statement. We had a rocky spell, dropping points against Ards and Dungannon Swifts, and we lost to Glenavon, all at home. You have to get over those results.

"But the performances we put in at The Oval (against Glentoran) and now Windsor would suggest we are well and truly over that.

"We had a few wee escapes, especially when they pulled it back to 3-2. Linfield put us under a lot of pressure. Big Mark McChrystal managed to get a shot off the line. But we weathered the storm. I thought the boys at the back were brilliant."

Whyte grabbed the goal of the game - his team's third - when he struck just before half-time after skinning the Linfield defence.

Matthew Snoddy rattled Whyte's cross against the bar, but the winger gobbled up the pieces to ram past Roy Carroll.

"I thought Ribs (Robert Garrett) was going to do me. I knew I was getting there first, but I thought he was going to take me out," he said. "But had he touched me it would have been a red card. I managed to flick the ball past him and there was no way he was catching me."

Whyte believes it is now onwards and upwards for the Shore Road boys. They will aim to cut the gap on Coleraine at the top of the league even further when they face Ballinamallard United at Seaview on Friday night.

"There is no point in winning at Windsor and then dropping silly points at home," added Whyte. "It's important we keep the focus and get back to a winning trend at home."

Belfast Telegraph

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