Linfield ace Stewart out to take down Blues' title rivals
Linfield 2 Ards 0
Jordan Stewart says he is ready to lead a Linfield revival.
Following a horrible run of results - which included a thumping home defeat by Crusaders - David Healy's title holders find themselves a whopping 10 points behind Danske Bank Premiership leaders Coleraine.
They hadn't won at home since September 16, so defeat against a struggling Ards at Windsor Park was unthinkable.
Goals from Stewart and Josh Robinson helped ease the tension, but it was far from pretty stuff. In fact, had Colin Nixon's boys brought their shooting boots, Linfield's agony could have continued.
Stewart said: "We had been on a poor run and it's not what is expected at this club. Our performances haven't been good enough, so we needed the three points. Hopefully, it's something to build on.
"We just don't know what the problem is - it is certainly not down to a lack of effort. I'm pretty confident if we keep working the way we are, performances will improve."
Stewart believes he also has a point to prove. He said: "There is a lot more to come from me. I haven't really performed at all this season. It's alright scoring against Ards and Ballinamallard, with every respect to those clubs, but I need to perform in the big games."
Blues boss Healy said: "It's never nice to lose, and it certainly wasn't nice the way we lost to Crusaders. We were down and we were hurting, but we got the win. It wasn't pretty, bit the points were more important."
Ards manager Nixon said: "Had we taken our chances, we could have got something. I'm disappointed for the players - they deserved better.
"We passed the ball well at times, but we lack that bit of quality in front of goal and that's what continually hurts us."
Linfield: Carroll, Casement, Haughey, Robinson, M Clarke, Mitchell (Fallon, 72 mins), Garrett, Lowry, J Stewart, Rooney (Burns, 57 mins), Waterworth (C Stewart, 57 mins). Unused subs: R Clarke, Quinn.
Ards: Hogg, Byers, Taylor, Elebert, Ruddy, Tommons, Cherry (Hanley, 80 mins), Frazer (McArthur, 67 mins), McAllister, Mitchell (McLellan, 75 mins), Keke. Unused subs: Kelly, McAleenan
Man of the match: Jordan Stewart
Match rating: 6/10
Referee: Raymond Heatherington