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Crusaders FC vs Connah's Quay Nomads
Saturday 23rd June 2018 | 1:00pm
Seaview, Belfast, Ireland | Attendance: 0
Connah’s Quay Nomads defeated Northern Irish champions Crusaders FC by two goals to one in a friendly at Belfast’s Seaview Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A sixth minute penalty from Callum Morris cancelled out an early opener from Jordan Forsythe, with Michael Bakare grabbing the winner in the 50th minute.
The game was The Nomads’ third visit to the Northern Ireland capital in three years, having first played Cliftonville at Solitude in a 1-0 defeat in 2016. Last year, we met Ballymena at Ballyclare Comrades’ Dixon Park, with the game ending 0-0.
The Nomads brought a full squad in preparation for their Europa League tie against Belarus’ Shaktyor Soligorsk, whilst Northern Irish champions, Crusaders were preparing to face Bulgaria’s current title holders Ludogorets Razgrad in the Champions League.
Andy Morrison’s starting eleven included new signings Lawrence Wilson and Danny Holmes, with centre back George Horan taking up his usual position as captain.
Crusaders started many of their title-winning 2017/18 squad, including Colin Coates, Declan Caddell and Jordan Owens.
The game got off to a rapid start with Crusaders taking the lead just four minutes in. Jordan Forsythe entered The Nomads’ area before sending a low effort neatly inside the left post to score.
However, straight from the resulting kick-off, The Nomads were awarded a penalty which was converted by Callum Morris.
With the scores level, a physical battle ensued with George Horan making a sliding tackle six yards from The Nomads’ goal to deny Declan Caddell.
With 15 minutes played Crusader’s David Cushley took a free kick from around 30 yards out, sending his effort on target only for John Danby to make a good low save.
The Nomads cleared a corner ffrom the home side and hit them on the break, with Ryan Wignall carrying the ball up to Michael Bakare, who held the ball well in the final third only to see his shot blocked.
As the half went on, the visiting Nomads were matching their hosts well and increasing their share of possession.
On 33 minutes, Bakare had a 25 yard effort sent out for a corner before an Andy Owens half volley from 15 yards was caught by goalkeeper Sean O’Neill.
Crusaders had one more go at The Nomads’ goal before half time, with David Cushley attempting a close range bicycle kick in the Nomads area with George Horan standing firm to block the effort.
Half time came and The Nomads went in on the back of a strong performance in which they had enjoyed a lot of possession, and created against highly able opposition.
In the 50th minute The Nomads took the lead, with Michael Bakare receiving the ball on the edge of the Crusaders area, dragging the ball to his left and sending an effort into the left corner of the net.
With the score 2-1, Crusader’s looked to attack The Nomads’ end but seldom saw sight of goal thanks to The Nomads’ well drilled defence.
Changes were made with Ryan Wignall and Bakare departing for Nathan Woolfe and Declan Poole. Jonny Spittle came on in place of Danny Harrison shortly after on 60 minutes.
The substitutions continued for Nomads with rolling changes sanctioned during the game. All ex-Prestatyn men Rob Hughes, Jack Kenny and Noah Edwards were introduced to replace Jay Owen, Callum Morris and Andy Owens.
Crusaders continued to make runs into The Nomads' half but John Danby was rarely tested – his game came to an end with 25 minutes to go, as Jon Rushton was brought on to see the encounter out.
New signings John Disney and Lawrence Wilson also came off for Joe Heath and Michael Wilde.
Rob Hughes sent a free kick into the Crusaders area on 65 minutes and although forward Jack Kenny got a touch on it, it was too tame to threaten the 'keeper.
Hughes then sent an effort towards the roof of the net on 70 minutes, forcing a good save out of substitute 'keeper who replaced Sean O’Neill.
As the game entered its latter stages, The Nomads edged closer to their first ever friendly win in Northern Ireland as the likes of Hughes and Wilde attacked for The Nomads.
Despite the best efforts of the home side, The Nomads’ organisation paid off and they finished the friendly as the victorious side.
The game marked history for The Nomads as their first win in Northern Ireland, in addition to becoming the first Welsh team to defeat Crusaders following the club's previous clashes against Neath, Bala Town and The New Saints.
The Nomads’ Europa League preparations continue next Saturday 30 June against the Isle of Man national team, at their Bowl stadium for a 2:30pm kick off.
Match report by Will Catterall
Callum Morris converts from the penalty spot to draw The Nomads level in the sixth minute © NCM Media
Michael Bakare was a constant threat for The Nomads throughout © NCM Media
Danny Holmes celebrates with Michael Bakare after his 50th minute winner © NCM Media
Substitute Michael Parker heads for goal in the second half © NCM Media
Declan Poole goes on the attack in the second half © NCM Media
The Nomads' Goalscorers
Crusaders FC's Scorers