By Tommy Nethery
Dungannon Swifts recorded their first win under new boss Dean Shiels by defeating Crusaders at Stangmore Park this evening.
A Callum Byers first half goal and thunderbolt free kick by Rory Patterson secured Dungannon’s first win since the beginning February.
Swifts’ fourth victory of a dismal campaign thus far too ended a seven-game losing streak
By half time everything was going according to plan for the basement side.
Shiels’ side had dominated the first half and Byers’s goal two minutes before the break had the hosts deservedly ahead.
Michael Carvill whipped a corner kick into the back post area and the defender got there just ahead of Jordan Owens to force the ball home.
In some respects the goal had been coming. Moments earlier visiting keeper Johhny Tuffey had denied the excellent Oisin Smyth with Ryan Mayse volleying the breaking ball inches wide.
Rhyss Campbell then blazed over after he had been released by a superb crossfield pass from Patterson.
Crusaders’ best chance of the opening 45 minutes was an excellent turn and shot by Jamie McGonagle but home netminder Sam Johnston reacted brilliantly to push the ball around the base of his left upright.
Early in the second half McGonagle fired over from a Ross Clarke cross as Stephen Baxter’s Crues attempted to up the ante.
McGonagle was again off target after being picked out by Declan Caddell before Patterson fired wide at the other end in the wake of good play by Mayse and Smyth.
Tuffey then tipped over a stinging shot from Mayse but the Crues keeper was left grasping at mid air on 61 minutes when Patterson thundered a free kick into the roof of his net.
Patterson could well have taken home the match ball before the final whistle. The Strabane man blazed over when sent clear by Campbell and shortly afterwards watched in disbelief when his close range effort came back down off the crossbar.
A late McGonagle header threatened to spoil Dungannon’s party but the basement side held on for the win with Clarke denied by a post late on.
Dungannon Swifts: Johnston; Wilson; Byers; M Smyth; Glenny; McGee; O Smyth (McGinty 83); Carvill; Mayse (Teelan 90 +2); Campbell; Patterson (Hughes 83).
Subs not used: Byrne; Patton; Gallagher; Convie..
Crusaders: Tuffey; Burns; Larmour; Brown; Ruddy; Caddell; McGinley (Clarke 46); Lowry; McGonagle; Cushley (Heatrly 62); Owens (Lecky 62).
Subs not used: O’Neill; Wilson; Weir; Kennedy.
Referee: R Dunlop (Carrickfergus)