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Crusaders 4-1 Institute

Jordan Owens
Jordan Owens celebrates after opening the scoring at the Showgrounds

Crusaders thumped Institute 4-1 at Ballymena Showgrounds to reach the final of the Irish Cup.

Jordan Owens scored with a right-foot drive in the ninth minute and Eamon Doherty bundled the ball over the line for the second two minutes later.

Aaron Black coolly slid the ball under goalkeeper Alan Ryan to make it 3-0 on 33 minutes while Kevin Ramsey pulled one back with a 64th-minute penalty.

Paddy McLaughlin turned a Declan Cadell cross into his own net on 79 minutes.

Ramsey fired a left-foot half-volley weakly at Chris Keenan in the opening minutes and then Martin Donnelly should have put the Crues ahead but he shot wide from six yards out.

Donnelly laid the ball off for Mark Dickson to cross from the left and Owens drove home his 15th goal of the season.

Owens met another Dickson left-wing cross but Ryan saved, only for Doherty to find the net from the ensuing goalmouth scramble.

Ryan pushed Gary Smyth's looping header over the bar and Ruairi Boyle almost headed the ball into his own net as the Crues continued to dominate.

Black beat Ryan for the third and Gareth McKeown saw his free-kick pushed round for a corner by Ryan.

Ramsey opened Institute's account after the striker had his shirt tugged inside the penalty area.

The striker then blazed over when well placed and McLaughlin appeared to handle inside the area but no penalty was awarded.

Sean Friars hit the post with a left-foot free-kick but Institute's misery was compounded when McLaughlin scored with an own-goal.

Stephen Baxter's side will play Cliftonville or Linfield in the 9 May showpiece decider.

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter:

"We set our stall out to win the game at the first time of asking and had a good go at them in the first 30 minutes.

"We scored three goals in that period and could have scored three more - there were some outstanding performers in our team.

"Fair play to Institute, they came back at us after the break but I thought we were deserving winners.

"We'll go into the final with nothing to fear - the lads will give it a good run in the final."

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see also
Institute 2-2 Crusaders
03 Mar 09 |  Irish
Crusaders 1-0 Institute
25 Oct 08 |  Irish
Institute 1-1 Crusaders
16 Aug 08 |  Irish

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