Jordan Stewart was the Linfield cup hero last night - minutes after a decision by manager David Healy to keep the playmaker on the pitch.
Stewart popped up in the closing moments of the BetMcLean League Cup quarter-final to secure a 2-1 victory over Championship-based Portadown.
Michael O’Connor handed Linfield the upper hand on seven minutes but spirited Portadown battled back thanks to a Ryan Carmichael equaliser - before Stewart made his mark over injury-time.
“He was actually tiring and I was contemplating taking him off 10 minutes before the end on the heavy pitch because he hasn’t played 90 minutes too much lately,” said Healy. “Fair play to him he was in the right place at the right time.
“He’s not on the transfer list anymore, Jordan has always belonged at the club.
“We made the decision around August when we had a conversation and Jordan felt that things weren’t working out for him but he has knuckled down and when he does knuckle down he has good ability.”
Ports boss Matthew Tipton entered the knockout tie in search of a boost following struggling league form.
“In the last month we’ve lost four out of six games and conceded off every mistake,” he said. “We were more organised and solid tonight, which then gave us a platform to go forward.
“We’ve an 18-year old goalkeeper and midfielders at 16 and 17 so just need to keep on making sure it’s going the right way.”