Crewe United maintained their unbeaten start to the season on Tuesday night with a comprehensive 5-0 derby victory away to Lower Maze.
Mark McCullough was the hero with a well-taken hat-trick to add to early goals from Seamy Moore and Terry McGrath.
The victory leaves Crewe second in the Intermediate A table, behind newly-promoted Hanover who have won all four of their opening games.
From the first whistle, Crewe came out firing on all cylinders and looked in ominous form.
It was no surprise when, after five minutes, Crewe took the lead. Good work from Craig Leworthy found Terry McGrath on the right wing and he delivered a pinpoint cross onto the head of centre forward Seamy Moore, who nodded home the opening goal at the back post.
Two minutes later, the Glenavy side doubled their lead when a cross from Tommy McBride from the left was met by Terry McGrath who controlled the ball and coolly slotted home past Thomas Neill in the Maze goal.
The home side were shell-shocked and could not get a hold of the ball as Crewe relentlessly pressed forward.
The game was over as a contest within the first 20 minutes as the third goal arrived. McBride again delivered a quality ball, this time from a corner, and after a scramble in the crowded six yard box Mark McCullough forced the ball home for his first goal of the game.
His second came soon after as it seemed Crewe could rack up a real cricket score. He latched on to a long through ball from Nathan Finlay which caught the Maze defence flat footed and McCullough rounded goalkeeper Thomas Neill to slot home as Crewe went into the break 4-0 to the good.
After half-time, Maze came out and took the fight to Crewe. Jonny Banks in the Maze midfield worked hard to create chances but the visitors’ defence stood strong.
The scoring in the game was finished after 70 minutes when the in-form McCullough grabbed his hat-trick.
After a tricky run down the right had side of the home defence, he broke through on goal and slid the ball home from inside the six yard box.
Overall, it was a very good performance from Crewe which they will hope to carry into tomorrow (Saturday)’s Irish Cup tie away to Newbuildings.