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Penalty 'turning point', admits seething Baxter as Glentoran dump Crusaders out of Irish Cup


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Robbie McDaid

Robbie McDaid

Robbie McDaid

Seething Stephen Baxter did his best to camouflage his disappointment and anger after Crusaders' interest in the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup ended at the quarter-final stage against Glentoran at The Oval.

Once again it was a controversial refereeing decision that was the big talking point of a game that was played in horrendous blustery conditions.

Bangor official Andrew Davey awarded the Glens a penalty kick three minutes from time, having taken advice from his fourth official Raymond Crangle.

Crues defender Jarlath O'Rourke was deemed guilty of handling a cross from Robbie McDaid, who calmly stepped up to convert from the spot.

Earlier, Jamie McGonigle had shot the Crues into the lead which was wiped out in the second half by a Marcus Kane strike.

But the game exploded after the penalty decision.

Crusaders finished with only 10 men, having Jordan Forsythe dismissed following an altercation with a ball boy, then after the final whistle, Baxter and goalkeeper Gerard Doherty were also issued with red cards.

"There is no doubt the penalty decision was the big turning point," said Baxter.

"We are watching it from the dugout at the halfway line. I'm standing beside the fourth official (Raymond Crangle) and he gives the penalty.

"I couldn't tell whether it was a penalty or not from the naked eye. The referee was right beside it, the linesman was right beside and neither of them gave it. That's the disappointing aspect of it for me.

"You have to be ultra-sure in decision making like that.

"We talk about team-work, but it was the fourth official who made the decision in the 87th minute.

"The officials were there to do their job. They decided it was a penalty and we are out of the cup - that's it. There was no time to recover from that."

Baxter refused to take questions on his dismissal, but he admitted: "It hasn't been a great day for us.

"These things are all terribly disappointing. People have got to take responsibility in football. I'm talking about players, management and referees. Everyone has to take responsibility of how they conduct themselves - and also for their actions. That's how it works.

"I can't legislate for how some people conduct themselves and I have to suffer the consequences of that.

"I went onto the pitch to shake the referee's hand - and that's hand on heart.

"What I witnessed on the pitch from the referee is open to interpretation and I'm saying no more."

McGonigle broke the deadlock on 31 minutes.

The former Coleraine man picked up a clever pass from David Cushley and, after cutting inside, he left fly from 25 yards and the ball nestled in the bottom corner, via a the boot of the unfortunate Willie Garrett.

Kane levelled matters on 67 minutes when he gobbled up a knock down from Gavin Peers to rifle a low shot past Doherty.

McDaid then had the final say with that spot kick winner, which sent the home fans into a frenzy and set up a semi-final showdown with Cliftonville.

"I thought we controlled the game from start to finish," said Glens boss Mick McDermott (right).

"It was a cup game, so you don't get a second chance.

"We should have scored in the first minute, but Robbie didn't get great contact on the ball.

"The chance Crusaders got, they scored. I certainly wasn't worried at half-time.

"I told the players we'd get chances after the restart. I was happy enough, they all did their job.

"We knew it would be difficult against the wind in the first half but, taking that into account, we still were not really troubled.

"Our aim was to be in the semi-final draw and we achieved that. We can look forward to another big game against Cliftonville - bring it on."

GLENTORAN: Morris 7, Garrett 6, Kane 7, Peers 7, Gallagher 6, McDaid 6, McClean 8, Nasseri 7, Crowe 6 (Cowan, 90 mins, 5), O'Neill 6 (Van Overbeek, 61 mins, 6), Donnelly 6. Unused subs: Frazer, Pepper, Antolovic, O'Connor, Gordon.

CRUSADERS: Doherty 6, Burns 7, McGonigle 7, Cushley 6, Forsythe 6, O'Rourke 6, Owens 6, Brown 7, Thompson 6 (Lowry, 73 mins, 6), Heatley 6, Dummigan 7 (McElroy, 89 mins, 5). Unused subs: O'Neill, Hegarty, Hale, Caddell, McGinley.

REFEREE: Andrew Davey (Bangor) 7.

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