Belfast Telegraph

Irish League Round Up: Jordan Stewart inspires Linfield to Crusaders thumping but perfect 10 Ballymena stay top

Jordan Stewart scored a stunner for Linfield against Crusaders.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Jordan Stewart scored a stunner for Linfield against Crusaders. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Linfield smashed Crusaders at Windsor Park on Saturday afternoon but Ballymena's 10th win in a row kept the Sky Blues on top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

Here's all you need to know about the day's Irish League action:

Linfield 4-0 Crusaders

Linfield were in top form to smash Crusaders at Windsor, helped by man of the match Jordan Stewart.

Joel Cooper caused the Crues plenty of problems in the first meeting of the season again and was at it again when he took advantage of the space afforded to him to open the scores.

It was an early double-whammy for the visitors when Jimmy Callacher headed in Kirk Millar's corner just three minutes later.

It was three shortly after half-time when Josh Robinson netted against his former club and Stewart made it four in spectacular style. The winger ghosted past the defence with superb skill and provided the finish to match.

Warrenpoint Town 1-4 Ballymena United

There was no slip from the league leaders despite falling behind at Milltown.

On loan Glenavon midfielder had done his parent club a favour when he gave Warrenpoint the lead from the penalty spot but the league leaders levelled three minutes later when Friel headed in Stephen McCullough's cross.

Friel's second of the day gave the visitors the advantage on the stroke of half time, fair reward for their dominance. This was one was a spectacular bicycle kick from the edge of the area, a fitting way to notch his sixth goal in five games.

Adam Lecky bagged Ballymena's third on 47 and James Knowles grabbed the fourth to complete the scoring and keep the Sky Blues on top.

Cliftonville 4-2 Glenavon

Cliftonville are up to fourth after winning for the 11th time in their last 12 home matches.

Rory Donnelly's third goal in two games put the Reds ahead on five minutes. He seized on Levi Ives' ball over the top and slotted a clinical finish through Jonny Tuffey's legs.

Glenavon were level through Conor McCloskey. He jinked past Jamie McGovern to work space and got a slice of luck when he shot looped off Aaron Donnelly into the top corner.

Just two minutes after the break, the Blues were ahead when Andrew Mitchell showed his cinical edge, smashing home Andy Hall's cross first time for his third goal in three games.

However, the Reds were level by thehour-mark Stephen Garrett headed home Ryan Catney's cross for his first league goal of the season.

After Jamie McGovern had stopped Josh Daniels' effort on the line, the Reds went into title challenge saving mode, Donnelly making it 3-2 with a rebound from a Conor McDonald effort, McDonald completing the scoring.

Institute 3-3 Glentoran

Glentoran led three times but couldn't win against a spirited Stute at the Brandywell.

John Herron's first goal of the season opened the scoring for the visitors but Stute were level when Dylan Davidson could do nothing but slice a troublesome Wilson cross into his own net.

Robbie McDaid restored the Glens' lead just before the break, rising to head home despite the hosts' appeals for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Aaron Harkin's inch-perfect free-kick levelled for the hosts again. McDaid soon smashed in his second to put the Glens ahead for the third time but Joe McCready curled home a spectacular 87th minute effort to earn a draw for Institute.

Coleraine 1-0 Ards

It took 53 minutes but Coleraine bagged the winner when Jamie McGonigle headed home after Gareth McConaghie had flicked on Darren McCauley's corner.

Dungannon Swifts 0-0 Newry City

When Declan Carville struck on 77, it seemed the visitors had got the win but Paul McElroy pounced to level on 85 and earn a point for Kris Linday's Swifts.

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