Crusaders win at Newry marred by injury to Jimmy Callacher

Crusaders' Adam Lecky celebrates his second goal at the Newry Showgrounds on Saturday           PICTURE: INPHO
Crusaders' Adam Lecky celebrates his second goal at the Newry Showgrounds on Saturday PICTURE: INPHO

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FOUR goals scored, none conceded, three points picked up, a point behind early league leaders Linfield with a game in hand, Saturday seemed like a pretty fine day for Crusaders. However, there was one major blemish to an otherwise positive afternoon for the north Belfast men in south Down as summer signing Jimmy Callacher was stretchered off after a collision with Newry City’s Ciarán O’Connor.

Callacher was in obvious distress as he was taken off after an awkward coming together with O’Connor in the box that left the Crues defender clutching his knee, and manager Stephen Baxter was concerned about him after the game.

“Obviously, the big blight in the game is really the injury to Jimmy Callacher, which is just disastrous really and the pain that he’s in is really bad, so we’re hoping and praying that this injury will not knock him out for a long time,” Baxter told the BBC on the final whistle.

“When you get an injury of this magnitude, you just don’t know until we get him to hospital and all that sort of stuff, but whenever you’ve paramedics in there and there’s gas and air going on, it’s never a good sign.”

Apart from that, the game couldn’t have been much more of a stroll for the Hatchet men, with Ben Kennedy rifling a volley on the turn into the top corner after just three minutes at the Showgrounds.

Daniel Larmour extended the away side's advantage when he nodded Kennedy's in-swinging corner from the back post into the back of the net later in the first-half. And Adam Lecky got on the scoresheet on the hour mark when he leapt highest to connect with Ross Clarke's pass from the right-hand side and head home after the break.

It was 4-0 when the Newry defence failed several times to clear Jordan Forsythe's long pass, with the ball eventually falling to Kennedy, who glided past several City players before playing a superb pass to Lecky, who lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Steven Maguire.

The Crues now turn their attention to tomorrow night’s Belfast derby with Glentoran at the Oval. The Glens travelled to Ballymena on Friday night and came away with all three points thanks to goals from Junior and Jay Donnelly.

On Saturday, Carrick Rangers celebrated the news of upcoming American investment in the east Antrim club by playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Linfield at Windsor Park.

Rangers opened the scoring when David Cushley fired into the bottom corner in the 19th minute, with the Blues responding less than 10 minutes later when Chris Shields converted from the spot after Kyle McClean was brought down in the box by Carrick captain Cushley.

The Blues were ahead eight minutes later when Matthew Clarke timed his run perfectly and slotted low underneath Carrick goalkeeper Ross Glendinning. Stuart King's men levelled on 37 minutes when Danny Purkis scored at the near post from a Ben Tilney cross.

With 15 minutes remaining, Linfield looked to have come up with a winner when centre-back Ben Hall powered home a header from Kirk Millar's free-kick. However, Purkis netted his second on 81 minutes as his close range header flew past Chris Johns to earn Carrick a point.

On Friday, Dungannon Swifts played out a 2-2 draw with Coleraine at Stangmore Park while Loughgall and Glenavon shared the spoils in their north Armagh derby, also finishing 2-2.