Caddell's injury rubs salt into wounds of Crusaders
Crusaders 0-1 Glentoran
Crusaders have suffered a major blow just a week before the start of their Danske Bank Premiership title defence.
The Crues kick-off the new campaign at home to Portadown on Saturday and they will do so without key midfielder Declan Caddell as their Northern Ireland Hospice Charity Shield defeat to Glentoran on Saturday came at a cost.
Caddell is expected to miss the first six weeks of the season after sustaining a broken metatarsal in his left foot during the 1-0 loss to the Glens.
In addition to losing Caddell for anything up to the first seven matches of the season, new signing from Linfield, Michael Carvill, will also miss the start of the new league campaign, having sustained an ankle injury in a midweek friendly fixture.
"Declan was taken to hospital - he knew it was bad," said Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter.
"He actually kicked across a player's studs. He came off right away and had it iced. He was limping badly. He broke the same foot a couple of seasons ago. It could well keep him out for some time.
"Carvill will be out for three weeks at least. He damaged an ankle, its a grade two sprain. It's disappointing for the player and the team.
"All of a sudden we have a few extra injuries around us that we didn't really want.
"It's not ideal with the new season only a matter of days away.
"I didn't particularly want to see too many injuries like that just at this stage, but that's football."
Jordan Stewart scored the only goal of the game, shrugging off the humiliation of a club ban to bag the winner at Solitude.
The 20-year-old Glentoran star was punished for 'guesting' in a low-key pre-season fixture for a junior side.
He was subsequently slapped on the wrist with a two-week suspension, but he was the shining light against Crusaders in a drab curtain raiser.
He rocketed home a second half beauty to ensure the Glens carried on where they left off last term - as trophy winners.
His delicious strike also helped save the blushes of big defender Jay Magee, who shamefully hoofed a 40th minute spot-kick yards wide.
Stewart, a second-half substitute, is now hoping to put the sorry suspension saga behind him.
"I don't think I had a point to prove in this particular game. I reckon that I have a point to prove over the course of the season," he said.
" You want to play as well as you can in every match. I'm not really 100% in terms of match fitness.
"I'm just back from the suspension and I didn't have the best of games when I came on, but I'm thrilled to have grabbed the winner.
"It's always nice to get a trophy, even though it is only the Charity Shield. As a team, we've made good progress from last season.
"We are hoping to now push on. To beat the league champions is a big boost to morale."
With manager Eddie Patterson on holiday, his assistant Tiernan Lynch was left to address the media. He has no doubt the best is yet to come from Stewart.
"Jordan is a massive part of what we are doing at Glentoran and is key to where we want to go," he said.
"He is a serious talent - he has so much ability, but he sometimes does silly things. He is young and naive which can be frustrating for a club that is paying his wages."
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Magowan, Robinson, McClean, Caddell (Mirchell 44), Snoddy, Clarke, O'Carroll (O'Flynn 83), Owens, Whyte. Subs not used: McKibbin, Stewart, Coates.
Glentoran: Morris, Birney, Magee, Garrett, Kane, McCullough (Scullion 80), Gibson (Allen 58), McAlorum, Gordon, McKee, McCaffrey (Stewart 54). Subs not used: Hogg, Addis.
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown).