A STUNNING second half shutout played its part as North Wales Crusaders secured their biggest win of the season yesterday.

It was winner-takes-all in the opening stage of the League 1 play-offs and Crusaders stormed through with a brilliant 26-10 triumph at Workington Town, coached by former Cru chief Anthony Murray.

Current Cru coach Carl Forster was fully embracing the tag of underdogs as North Wales Crusaders headed to Workington Town in the play-offs.

Not many pundits were tipping Crusaders to cause a shock against a Workington side that had beaten them twice in the league this season.

And this was a point Cru coach Forster was keen to adopt heading into the knockout encounter.

He told CruCast: “There’s nothing more dangerous than an underdog that’s got nothing to lose.

“You know, Workington, they beat us twice.

“Their fans will expect them to get the win. They finished four-or-five wins above us.

“They’ve just come down from the Championship last year, so it’s all on them and we’ll go there, fully fit team, happy to be there and you never know, we might cause the upset.”

Crusaders could not have wished for a better start to the elimination final and they were 8-0 ahead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Workington were penalised for a late tackle in the third minute and Leon Hayes kicked the penalty from in front of the posts.

Things got even better for the Cru on nine minutes when they stretched their advantage.

Forster bundled his way over under the points and Hayes added another successful kick.

Crusaders had also made a terrific start during their previous trip to Workington this season, back on Good Friday, and similar to that day, back came Anthony Murray’s hosts.

Carl Forber set the ball rolling with a 16th minute try, which was duly converted by Ciaran Walker.

Rob Massam thought he had claimed Crusaders’ next try, but the referee made an offside call as it wasn’t awarded, while Workington went in front after half-an-hour.

Ethan Bickerdike crossed the whitewash for an unconverted score.

That was to be the final time that Workington troubled the scoreboard, though.

A dozen minutes into the second half and Cru claimed the lead again.

Kieran Taylor grabbed the try and Hayes was on the money once more with the extras.

Crusaders had a 10-point advantage on the hour as Pat Rainford crossed the whitewash, with Hayes converting.

It was game over when Matt Reid grabbed Cru’s fourth try with 10 minutes left and Hayes duly converted.

Next up for Cru is next Sunday’s trip to Oldham, who were beaten 36-0 at Doncaster.