Belfast Telegraph

Irish League Round Up: Stewart hat-trick sends Linfield clear at the top while Glentoran keeper Morris scores

Jordan Stewart (right) and Andy Waterworth fired Linfield to victory.
Jordan Stewart (right) and Andy Waterworth fired Linfield to victory.

Linfield are now three points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership after Ballymena United's blip continued.

The Blues beat Warrenpoint 3-0 at Windsor Park while United were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Dungannon. Linfield are now three clear of Crusaders and Ballymena, although the Crues have played a game more than their rivals.

At the Brandywell, Glentoran's Elliott Morris became the first Irish League goalkeeper to net since 2010 as his side ended their record winless run.

Elsewhere, Coleraine and Glenavon drew while Coleraine smashed bottom side Ards.

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Linfield 4-0 Warrenpoint Town

A Jordan Stewart double helped Linfield to victory at Windsor Park as they took advantage of another slip from their title rivals.

Tricky wingers Stewart and Joel Cooper combined to open the scores shortly before half-time, Stewart tucking home a Cooper cut-back for his third goal in four league games.

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The former Swindon man doubled his tally from the penalty spot after his shot was blocked by the hand of Anto Reilly. He would go on to complete his hat-trick, firing home from close range. That was to make it 4-0 after Andy Waterworth's 12th league goal of the season arrived as the striker flicked in a header from Niall Quinn's assist.

Ballymena United 2-2 Dungannon Swifts

Ballymena have now won just one of their last four league games after being held at home by a Dungannon side now seven points off the bottom.

Ballymena held a half-time advantage thanks to Jude Winchester's smashing strike, finding the top corner from the edge of the area for his fifth of the season.

Grant Hutchinson thought he had levelled midway through the second half but the substitute's strike was ruled out for a foul in the build-up.

When the equaliser did arrive, it was a gift from United centre-half Scott Whiteside, whose slack back-pass played in Daniel Hughes to round a stranded keeper and slot home with a cool left foot finish.

Dungannon played the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Dougie Wilson was shown a straight red for a lunge on Jim Ervin.

United took advantage of their numerical advantage through who else but top scorer Cathair Friel, whose 10th goal of the season, a deflected effort, restored their advantage with 16 minutes to go.

The lead lasted for less than three minutes as 18-year-old Dungannon substitute Oisin Smyth slotted home his first ever Premiership goal.

Institute 0-2 Glentoran

Glentoran won their first Danske Bank Premiership match since October, partially thanks to a goal from goalkeeper Elliott Morris.

The day's Irish League scoring was opened in spectacular style as Morris netted. He launched a free-kick from well inside his own half that floated over the head of his opposite number Martin Gallagher.

The points were safe when 19-year-old Paul O'Neill converted his first league goal for the club.

Coleraine 1-1 Glenavon

Glenavon's winless league run stretched to five matches as Gary Hamilton's side slipped 10 points adrift of league leaders Linfield.

Eoin Bradley opened the scoring against his old side, tapping home after Jamie Glackin's effort had been saved by Jonny Tuffey.

Midfielder Niall Grace levelled, curling home from 20 yards for his first league goal for the club.

Ards 1-4 Cliftonville

Cliftonville got back to winning ways with a routine win over bottom side Ards.

Ryan Curran drove home the opener for the Reds but Ards' new signing Darren Henderson stroked home the leveller on the stroke of half-time. The visitors had been less than impressed with the decision to award the spot-kick, Ruairi Harkin adjudged to have fouled Kym Nelson.

Conor McMenamin found the top corner to restore the Reds' advantage and Rory Donnelly made the points safe.

Joe Gormley, who had earlier missed a penalty, completed the rout against the league's basement side.

Friday night: Newry City 0-1 Crusaders

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