Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter delighted as his side see off Ballymena United in Tennent’s Irish Cup

Crusaders Jordan Owens in action with Ballymena's Scott Whiteside
Crusaders Jordan Owens in action with Ballymena's Scott Whiteside

There was a glint in Crusaders’ boss Stephen Baxter’s eye after Saturday’s 3-0 Tennent’s Irish Cup Quarter-final victory over Ballymena United at Seaview.

He had watched on as his side cruised into the semi-final draw - where they will face Coleraine in the last four - after dominating United.

Goals from Jordan Forsythe, Jordan Owens and Billy Joe Burns sealed the win for the Shore Road outfit.

Yes, Owens goal came after a mistake from United defender Jonathan Addis and Burns’ strike from all of 45 yards was wind assisted to say the least - but the Crues were in control from the minute midfielder Declan Caddell crunched into a tackle with United’s Scot Whiteside in the opening minutes.

It was an easy an Irish Cup Final quarter-final win as you would hope to see and Baxter was impressed with what he had witnessed from his side.

“It was a good performance and the game was done and dusted by the 30th minute. We had the application today, we had the goals and I thought we would be under the cosh in the second half but we were the ones creating the chances.

“Ballymena have been outstanding in recent week and we though the onslaught would come in the second half.

“We thought during the week about tinkering with our shape and matching theirs. Or maybe sticking to the shape we normally use.

“We just played well and that performance was more like the Crusaders team I have loved over the last few years.”

And Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey had no complaints after watching his side go out of the Irish Cup.

“I am bitterly disappointed. We had that period where we could have defended better for their first goal. Second one was a mistake and the third goal was freakish like the weather.

“I though Crusaders were really up for it and I thought we were leggy and second best in all departments.”