Billy Joe Burns admitted victory tasted sweet as he clutched the champagne bottle following a man of the match performance against Motherwell Under-20s but he was also relieved to fire Crusaders into tomorrow's IRN BRU Cup third round draw.
Philip Lowry's 29th minute header from Burns' cross put Stephen Baxter's side in the driving seat at Seaview but Stephen Craigan's young warriors refused to roll over and by the 67th minute they were 2-1 in front with skipper David Turnbull and George Newell on target.
Former Linfield favourite Burns then became the Crues' unlikely goalscoring hero, finding the net twice in eight minutes with his header from Jordan Owens' cross sealing a dramatic win with seconds remaining.
His 84th minute free-kick from 40 yards may have been an attempted cross but it found a way past keeper Peter Morrison and it was the moment when the visitors' luck started to run out.
"It feels good to get the win but the second half performance from us was nowhere near the standard where we need to be," said Burns.
"The two halves were night and day. We were in control in the first half but they got on top as we didn't come out.
"We dug in and scored the two goals in the second half though their keeper will be disappointed with my free kick. I was disappointed with the cross but it gave us a lifeline and thankfully we got the winner.
"I was saying to the boys it was like Ronaldinho against David Seaman but the keeper will be disappointed. I'm a bit sorry for him as he played well.
"It's usually the other way round with one of us dinking it in for Big Chicken (Jordan Owens) at the back post but our game is all about the second balls and getting it into he box. We kept digging in and got the goal.
You enter every competition to win it. The styles of play are different - the under-20s tried to pass it well but I think our experience showed. We need to adapt and change our game to help us move forward."
Linfield overcame Spartans of the Lowland League in Edinburgh 2-1. Louis Rooney got the opener with a first half penalty with Stephen Lowry netting the second after the interval. Blair Atkinson pulled one back in the 73rd minute but the Scottish side could not find an equaliser.
Linfield winger Jordan Stewart will answer your questions in a special Facebook Live broadcast organised by Belfast Telegraph Sport today. You can catch up with Jordan from 1.15pm today. See facebook.com/BelfastTelegraphSport and tune in to hear the latest views of the former Glentoran hero
Dungannon boss Rodney McAree believes summer signing Ryan Mayse will only get better this season. The winger, who swapped Ballinamallard for the Swifts, scored against his former club on Saturday. His eye-catching strike added a touch of style to what was a forgettable match.
Curtis Allen believes Glentoran are ready for lift-off. The East Belfast boys maintained their unbeaten start to the Danske Bank Premiership campaign by defeating Warrenpoint Town at the Oval on Saturday - a result that catapulted them up to third place in the league table.