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Irish Premiership: Coleraine to meet Crusaders in European play-off final

Written by on May 2, 2024

Crusaders struck an early blow with a goal inside seven minutes at Seaview.

Ross Clarke made strides on the right flank and his cross drifted over Carrick defender Albert Watson and fell perfectly for Adam Lecky to score with a downward header, despite Rangers goalkeeper Ross Glendinning getting a hand to the ball.

Both keepers were called into action soon after, with Glendinning saving Ben Kennedy’s drive, while at the other end, Jonny Tuffey held Kyle Cherry’s strike for Carrick.

Jordan Forsythe almost added a second in spectacular fashion when he spotted Glendinning off his line and let fly from just inside the Carrick half but, much to the keeper’s relief, the effort dropped onto the roof of the net,

Crusaders doubled their advantage as the game moved into first half stoppage time.

Philip Lowry had the ball with his back to goal and although he couldn’t get a shot away, the ball dropped for Stewart Nixon to fire home on the half-volley from the edge of the penalty area.

The first half scoring still wasn’t finished as Carrick got right back into the game with Danny Gibson bundling home from close range after Crusaders failed to clear Cherry’s corner.

Crusaders gave themselves some breathing space on 54 minutes when Clarke’s cross from the right was headed home by Kennedy, just ahead of Lecky, with Joe Crowe, on the line, only able to help the ball into the net.

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