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Snoddy at the double for Crusaders to conquer Ballinamallard

Crusaders 2 Ballinamallard 0

By Alex Mills

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter saluted two-goal Matthew Snoddy following a crucial win at Seaview last night.

The midfielder was only introduced to the action midway through the second half against a battling Ballinamallard United, but within 60 seconds he had the home fans on their feet with a breakthrough strike.

And he did it again just before the end with another classy finish, which sealed his team's first win at home since September 12.

It was always going to be a big ask for Gavin Dykes.

United haven't won away from home since January 28.

Once Snoddy took centre stage, there was no way back.

Baxter said: "I just didn't think we were getting enough penetration in the box, we were sitting too deep in midfield. Matthew is that type of player, he is a jack-in-the-box. He gets himself into good positions to score goals.

"He came on and turned the game on its head with his goals."

If it had been a boxing match, referee Tony Clarke would have had every right to call a halt before half-time. It was embarrassingly one-sided.

In fact, United were fortunate they were not behind after only 18 seconds. Declan Caddell was sent clear by his skipper Colin Coates, but his effort clipped the inside of the post.

Dykes' team were struggling to cope as Caddell flashed a header wide following a pin-point cross from Forsythe before defender Mark McCrystal shot straight at Brush when he should have found the net.

The Crues thought they had broken the deadlock on 20 minutes. After another sublime cross from Burns, Owens thundered a downward header past Burns, but the big man's celebration was cut short as he had already been flagged up for offside.

United's goal lived a charmed life at times. They were let off the hook again just two minutes before the interval when Caddell persistence carved out a chance for Whyte, but he could only blast against the knees of Brush.

United threatened for the first time at the other end just seconds after the interval when Gary Armstrong fired a 25-yard free kick over the crossbar after Stuart Hutchinson had been flattened by Coates.

Bizarrely, the visitors almost sneaked ahead on 62 minutes. Richard Clarke's free-kick fell kindly for Ryan Curran, who screwed his shot just wide.

But the introduction of Snoddy on 64 minutes had the desired affect. He required merely 60 seconds to make an impact after replacing Lowry.

He reacted like lightning inside the box to sweep home a cross form Forsythe. And, with the clock ticking, he tobbled up a Paul Heatley cross before firing low into the far corner.

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