CARRICK RANGERS 0 CRUSADERS 3
Crusaders had too much for nine-man Carrick as they eased into the last four of the Tennent’s Irish Cup with a 3-0 win at Seaview.
Not for the first time this season, Paul Heatley came back to haunt his former club, scoring twice and setting up the other for Diarmuid O’Carroll.
Gers defender Aaron Smyth received a straight red in the second half and Brian McCaul was also given his marching orders, having picked up two yellows.
With goalkeeper Brian Neeson unavailable, Carrick handed a debut to teenager Ryan Morrell. The rookie stopper hardly put a foot wrong but such is the class in the Crues’ ranks, he had pick the ball out of the net on three occasions.
Carrick were without the influential Conor McCloskey who pulled out after the warm-up with a groin strain. Ben Roy was thrust into the line-up and Barry Johnston was named among the subs. Crusaders opted to name record scorer Jordan on the bench, keeping him fresh for Ballymena’s visit to north Belfast next Saturday.
O’Carroll came close to netting an acrobatic opener after six minutes but his overhead-kick flew wide of Morrell’s left-hand upright.
Just 10 minutes later the deadlock was broken as Heatley ghosted in at the back post to head home Jordan Forsythe’s cross for his 16th goal of the season.
O’Carroll produced another acrobatic attempt - this time a scissor kick - but it was comfortably gathered by Morrell.
Heatley turned provider on 33 minutes when he blazed past Glenn Taggart before teeing up O’Carroll who side-footed home from close range.
Carrick were left with a mountain to climb on the hour when right-back Aaron Smyth was given a straight red after he felled Heatley on the edge of the box as he was bearing down on goal.
With 73 minutes gone, Morrell was quick off his line to deny Heatley who had darted into the box, leaving Andrew Doyle in his wake.
Twelve minutes from time, Billy-Joe Burns went close to netting a fourth for the Crues but his right-footed free-kick from the edge of the box came back off the post.
Carrick’s miserable afternoon was compounded when they were reduced to nine after Brian McCaul picked up a second caution for a foul on teenage sub Ross Holden.
Seconds after the sending-off, substitute Gavin Whyte slammed a 30-yard strike off the cross bar.
Carrick: Morrell - Smyth, Taggart (Wright 81), Doyle, Traynor - Surgenor, McCaul - Cherry (McNeill 58), Harmon, Roy (Rice 81) - Chines. Subs not used:, Johnston, Wallace.
Crusaders: O’Neill - Burns, Coates, Magowan, McClean - Clarke, Carvill, Snoddy (Mitchell 65), Heatley (Holden 76) - O’Carroll, Forsythe (Whyte 66). Subs not used: McKibbin (GK), Owens.
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast).