Crusaders’ Jeff Spiers happy with big win at Institute
Assistant manager Jeff Spiers was delighted with Crusaders reaction from their defeat to Linfield.
The Crues wanted to bounce back from their loss to the league leaders and they did so in ruthless fashion.
Striking trio Paul Heatley, Rory Patterson and Ronan Hale were in clinical form, each front man scored in the first half and thus making the second half somewhat of a non event.
“First half was very, very good,” explained Spiers.
“We got the early goal and I think the two before half-time meant we were always in control and we were a little bit disappointed that we maybe didn’t go on and score another couple in the second half, but all in all it’s a big three points.
“We got the right response from the boys and when we were 3-0 up at half-time we probably took our foot off the pedal in the second half, when we were looking a few more goals, but we had done enough in the first half.
“Obviously we lost last week and it was important to bounce back this week and we have done that.
“We are still in the race with Linfield and Ballymena and there’s a lot of football still to be played between now and the end of the season.”
With defensive trio Colin Coates, Howard Beverland and Michael Ruddy all suspended, the Crues made a number of changes, but they looked solid at the back and were disappointed to concede in the second half.
“We were disappointed in the goal, but it was a wee bit of a make shift defence, because we lost three people through suspension, but we have a very, very big squad and we have used that wisely today.
“Obviously we didn’t want them to get another goal because if they did then the last 15 minutes would have been very, very nervous but we sort of shut up shop in the final quarter and killed the game off.”
For Institute manager Paddy McLaughlin he was bitterly disappointed that his side didn’t start the game and in his opinion the visitors didn’t need to work hard for their goals.
“The first half was disappointing and the goals we conceded were soft,” he stated. “I don’t think Crusaders had to work too hard for them.
“When you watch the second half performance compared to the first, there was a lot more intensity in our play and our defending and a lot more desire to keep the ball out of the net.
“If we had showed that in the first half then we maybe wouldn’t have concede those soft goals, but it’s done so we have to dust ourselves down and go again.
“We are playing against the league champions and that’s the standard where we are at and they have some of the best players in the country, so if you show any sign of weakness or vulnerability at all, they are going to rip you apart and that’s what the Crues did in the first half.
“They saw vulnerability in our defensive play as a team not as a back three or back four, as a whole team and they took advantage of it and that’s why they are league champions.
“It was just unfortunate that it took us 45 minutes to go and show that wee bit of desire and more will to keep the ball out of the net, because as I said if we had have did that in the first half, then we could have taken a point.”
The ’Stute gaffer made a host of changes on Saturday and gave young goalkeeper Conan Doherty his senior debut.
“Conan has been top drawer for us in training over the last few weeks, he’s here now with us for the last two years and he’s definitely got potential to be a top class keeper in the Irish League for us for many years,” he added.
“We felt the timing was right, Marty (Gallagher) picked up a bit of a hamstring problem in training, so we felt the timing was right to throw Conan in and he can’t be faulted for any goals, so to make his debut against the league champions I thought he held his nerve really well and he’s definitely one for the future for us.”