Belfast Telegraph

We should have won: Linfield and Crusaders united in frustration after top of the table clash at Windsor Park

Linfield boss David Healy (left) and Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter
Linfield boss David Healy (left) and Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter

The Linfield and Crusaders managers were united in one feeling after Saturday afternoon's 1-1 draw at Windsor Park.

The Blues remain three points clear of the Crues at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, with Cliftonville now in second spot, two points behind after their win over Coleraine.

The Crues had led through Declan Caddell's eighth minute header, finishing off Philip Lowry's delicious chipped pass to the back post.

And Stephen Baxter's side would have been further ahead but for a double save from Linfield goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson to deny Jamie McGonigle midway through the first half.

But Linfield's Bastien Hery had seen a penalty save by the time Joel Cooper smashed home his 85th minute equaliser, the vicious swerve on his left-foot shot catching out Gerard Doherty in the Crusaders goal.

So what did the managers think of all that? The same thing; their team should have won.

"The sense of disappointment was tangible in the dressing room, players all chittering at each other," said Baxter, also branding Doherty's 22nd minute save from McGonigle a 'worldie'.

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"They should really have been 3-0 up at half-time but the level of performance was superb. The game-plan was great and it was a tremendous advertisement for our game, two teams going at it.

"When you get as far into the game as we did and don't see it out, it's very disappointing. It was a great strike for the equaliser but we've got in a couple of times and haven't picked the right pass at the right time.

"We've really troubled them so we're really happy with our performance but we're disappointed we didn't get all three points."

In the opposite dressing room, it seems there were similar frustrations aired.

"There's relief but when it gets to the final whistle, disappointment because I thought we had a right good go at the end," said Linfield manager David Healy.

"We're disappointed that it's the first time we've dropped points at home since we lost to Coleraine in August.

"People talk about formation but it wouldn't have mattered what formation we played the way we started, we looked slightly off it. It was sluggish from back to front. But fair play to the players, they kept going to the whistle. That can be an easy one to let it get to you but I thought we deserved at least a draw."

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