Crusaders comeback stuns Blues to seal Co Antrim Shield

Crusaders celebrate their win over Linfield and lifting the Co Antrim Shield once again. Credit: Presseye

Crusaders weathered the storm of going 3-1 down against Linfield, only to win 4-3 and retain their Co Antrim Shield title at a storm-ravaged Seaview on Tuesday night.

David Healy’s Blues dominated the first half, with strikes from Mark Stafford and Kirk Millar.

Mark Stafford fired Linfield into the lead against Crusaders at Seaview. Credit: Presseye

An own goal from Colin Coates also added to Crusaders’ woes.

But they managed to pull one back through David Cushley and boss Stephen Baxter felt that was crucial to allow his side to find a way back.

Colin Coates made up for his OG with a goal for Crusaders that helped chase down Linfield. Credit: Presseye

“I knew if we could get in 3-1 at half-time, we still had a chance in the game,” Baxter told UTV.

“With the playing conditions we had, both teams deserve an enormous amount of credit here.”

Coates made up for his error with a goal for the Crues that closed the gap on their opponents.

Then Jordan Forsythe’s equaliser in the 88th minute looked to be sending the game to extra time, but an injury time header from Cushley secured a famous victory for Crusaders.

David Cushley scored twice for Crusaders, including bagging the game winner. Credit: Presseye

“Disappointed to lose and disappointed to lose in the manner we did,” Blues boss Healy told UTV, speaking straight after the game.

“But congratulations to Stephen and congratulations to Crusaders – they went right to the wire and they got a win.”

Linfield were left disappointed to have conceded a two-goal advantage against Crusaders. Credit: Presseye

Healy felt his side switched off in the last few minutes of the game, conceding a “soft equaliser”,

He added: “And then, still smarting probably from the equaliser, we conceded another soft goal.

“Very unlike us – we’ve been down here before, under a lot of pressure in the second half, but we’ve dealt with it. We didn’t deal with that tonight.”