IRISH LEAGUE: Jordan Stewart on fire as Linfield ambush Ballinamallard United

Jordan Stewart celebrates his hat-trick
Jordan Stewart celebrates his hat-trick

There was just no stopping little Jordan Stewart at Windsor Park on Saturday.

The 22 year old hit a sensational hat-trick which landed yet another knockout blow on the chin of ailing Ballinamallard United, who are still looking for their first win of the Danske Bank Premiership campaign.

It was the perfect response from David Healy’s boys, whose admirable 27 game unbeaten run came to an end against Crusaders in midweek.

With ace goal scorer Andy Waterworth still out injured and Paul Smyth now on the books of QPR, it’s no secret the Blues have been a little short of fire power.

On the evidence of this performance, Stewart could just be he answer. And, even though he left with a match ball, it really could have been two!

However, he wasn’t the only culprit who misfired in front of goal -- the Blues could and should have hit double figures in a totally one-sided first half.

Aaron Burns, Stephen Lowry and new boy Louis Rooney -- how he drilled one over the bar of an unguarded goal from just six yards will remain a mystery -- all should hang their heads in shame, although a great deal of credit must go to United goalkeeper Richard Brush, who produced a series of wonder saves to prevent the score from becoming embarrassing.

Brush had no chance off Stewart’s opener, he drilled in low and hard after being sent through by a cute little pass from Burns.

Chris Casement then produced a tantalising low cross that Stewart just couldn’t fail to convert on 60 minutes. The home fans were again in the feet five minutes later when the little strike gobbled up another Burns flick to outpace the visiting defence before dispatching clinically past Brush.

It was left to big Mark Haughey to finish the job eight minutes from time.

The big defender rose high at the back post to meet and Robbie Garrett cross and his header fizzed into the top corner. Job done!

If it was business as usual for the Blues, it’s going to be a long way back for Gavin Dykes’ United.

They are firmly rooted at the bottom of the table with only one point from seven outings. And, on the evidence of this performance, that dismal run looks set to continue.

The reality is, Ballinamallard were probably relieved to leave the international stadium having shipped only four goals -- it could have been a lot worse!

LINFIELD: Carroll, Robinson, Haughey, Lowry, Stewart (Millar 71), Burns (Strain 75), Casement, Rooney (Adams 65), Mulgrew, Garrett, Quinn.

Unused subs: Stafford, Mitchell..

BALLINAMALLARD: Brush, McConnell, McLaughlin, Clarke, Curran (Armstrong 77), Leddy, McIlwaine, Burns (Taheny 71), Brennan (McGinty 74), Smyth, Canning. Unused subs: McCann, Brownlee.

REFEREE: Raymond Hetherington.