Weather woe key for Stephen Baxter as Crusaders lose the lead in Lurgan

Crusaders' Paul Heatley celebrates breaking the deadlock against Glenavon. Pic by INPHO.
Crusaders' Paul Heatley celebrates breaking the deadlock against Glenavon. Pic by INPHO.

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter was left to reflect on weather woe in Saturday’s Mourneview Park misery.

Paul Heatley provided the on-song Crues with a first-half boost but goals after the break by Josh Daniels and Conor McCloskey left Glenavon celebrating success.

Daniels took advantage of a rare defensive error by Billy Joe Burns created within the strong winds to equalise and give Glenavon momentum for a final push,

“It was a disappointing day and I felt we were slightly off it, in regards to the team just looked a hair jaded in our performance,” said Baxter, the January ‘Manager of the Month’ winner. “I felt we were just a slight yard off our normal game pattern.

“That’s the same team which has been playing so well.

“We had moments of brilliance, when Jamie McGonigle got a run and cut in and looked like he was going to score a few times.

“But conditions didn’t allow for football or our midfield to pass it and get on it and play into areas.

“The ball was there then, with the wind, it wasn’t so from that perspective it was horrendous for both teams.

“The manner of the first goal will disappoint me greatly when I go to watch it back as you get two, maybe three opportunities to deal with that ball, that’s the big disappointment.

“The softness of the goal was completely unlike us but, in the wind, the ball just didn’t sit right for Billy Joe Burns and got away from him but conditions can do that to you.

“I cannot be too hard around all of that, although disappointed to lose and lose that little bit of ground but we’ve got to play games of football to get on with it.

“Boys were slightly mistiming tackles and there were niggly fouls because of the way the ball was bouncing so it was an awful game from that perspective.

“They got that one lovely break and Conor McCloskey sticks it away particularly well.

“To be critical of any player today with the way the ball was moving, it was there one minute and gone the next so there’s absolutely no way to judge.

“Those are the hardest conditions as it’s not a constant wind.

“It’s a game which got away from us and we’ve got to take it on the chin and move on, it’s as simple as that as the boys have given me everything.”