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First Team - Match centre

Crusaders
Sparten
Sat 19 Apr 15:00 - League Full time

Crusaders edge thriller

Fight back sees Crusaders end season on a high.

Crusaders entered the last game of the season with a bare 11, but all intent on enjoying the last 90 minutes of the season in the Easter sunshine. Despite the relaxed atmosphere, a bland first half ensued, with some pretty football on a difficult surface and a number of comical incidents, but few clear chances at either end. The smart money at half time was backing a single goal to win it.

With this in mind, Gav Flye's 55th minute opener, sweeping home a right wing cross from short range looked likely to be crucial. However, if this season has proved anything it is to never underestimate Crusader's ability to self destruct and by the 65th minute, they had leaked 3 soft goals to leave a mountain to climb.

Thankfully, this prompted an atypical reaction from Crusaders, who regained a foothold in the game through Lee Hudson's first of the season, sweeping home another right wing cross from the penalty spot. With Sparten now rattled, Crusaders maintained the pressure and 5 minutes later were all square, when Loz Wilmot's corner was steer-volleyed home by Jon Vowles.

With the game now end to end, the rather prosaic first half seemed a lifetime away and there was little doubt that one side or the other would find a winner. Thankfully, it fell Crusaders way, when a freekick was knocked back across goal via a mass of bodies at the back post, leaving Guy Bewick the simple tsk of heading into an empty net from 3 yards out.

This time, Crusaders managed to hang on to the lead until the final whistle blew. Although lacking somewhat in quality, the 2nd half certainly gave the sizeable crowd plenty of entertainment and talking points to take to the bar.

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Gareth Taylor

Player of the Match

Gareth Taylor

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