Jordan Stewart to the ‘four’ as Linfield flex title muscles

Linfield's  Jordan Stewart celebrates his goal. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Linfield's Jordan Stewart celebrates his goal. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Little Jordan Stewart’s goal at Windsor Park on Saturday was worth the admission money alone!

Since his return from Swindon Town in May, 2017, the 23-year-old has failed to make an impact in the famous blue shirt.

A series of niggling injuries and, an alarming loss of form, culminated in Stewart being put on the transfer list earlier this season – he looked to be on his way out.

But he wasn’t prepared to throw in the towel. Instead, he upped his game in training and has gradually played his way back into the side, starting in five of the last seven games for the Blues.

There is no doubt, on his day, Stewart is one of the most gifted players in the league – as he demonstrated against Crusaders on Saturday.

He was the stand-out performer in a fabulous team display.

The Crues were out-played, out-thought and basically out-fought on the day.

Joel Cooper got the party started when he gobbled up a delicious pass from Stephen Fallon before drilling home a stinging left-footed shot from the edge of the box.

With the celebrations still in full swing, Kirk Millar whipped in a corner kick from the left and the unmarked Jimmy Callacher did the needful with the flick of his head.

Former Crues defender Josh Robinson piled on the agony after the break following a calamity of errors in the visitors’ defence as they failed to clear the danger.

The best was left to the last.

Cooper cleverly nutmegged Sean Ward before picking out Stewart.

In one cheeky movement, he sent Michael Carvill sliding the wrong way; ghosted past Ward; waltzed around goalkeeper Harry Doherty before slapping the ball past Colin Coates on the line. It was breath taking stuff.

Crusaders did manage to pull one back through Philip Lowry, but it was mere consolation.

The Crues title may be disappearing over the horizon, but is it certainly coming into sight for David Healy and his boys.