Belfast Telegraph

David Healy delighted at Jordan Stewart's last gasp League Cup winner for Linfield

 

Winner: Jordan Stewart (centre) saluted after his late Linfield winner at Portadown last night
Winner: Jordan Stewart (centre) saluted after his late Linfield winner at Portadown last night

By Steven Beacom

Linfield manager David Healy hailed the attitude and ability of Jordan Stewart after his injury time winner defeated Portadown 2-1 at Shamrock Park and sent the Blues into a BetMcLean semi-final showdown at Dungannon Swifts.

Healy thought his side's performance was "bang average" but was pleased to come through a testing tie against Matthew Tipton's Championship team, who put in an impressive display.

When Michael O'Connor gave the visitors the lead early on, Linfield were in control though the young Ports side deserve great credit for their second half comeback with the superb Ryan Carmichael equalising. Extra-time loomed until Stewart's last gasp clincher.

Stewart was on the transfer list earlier in the season. He has since been taken off it and Healy is delighted he is still at the club scoring vital goals.

Healy added: “I was pleased for Jordan. He was actually tiring and I was contemplating taking him off 10 minutes before the end on the heavy pitch because he hasn’t played 90 minutes too much lately but, fair play to him, he kept going and was in the right place at the right time and got us a crucial winner.

“We made the decision about him going on the list around August when we had a conversation and Jordan felt that things weren’t working out for him but he is not on the list any more and has knuckled down. When he does knuckle down, he has good ability, and fortunately against Portadown he got an important goal.

“I thought overall our performance was bang average. In the first half we were okay, and in the second half, apart from hitting the woodwork a couple of times, we struggled.

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“Fair play to Portadown, they had a right go after the break and we got off the hook when we were trying to win and got caught at the back when we probably didn’t need to. Ultimately though, cup competitions are all about winning, so if you win 5-0 or 2-1 it’s all the same.”

Ports boss Tipton was proud of the efforts of his side who have been inconsistent in the Championship.

He said: “In the last month we’ve lost four out of six games and conceded from every mistake. We were more organised and solid defensively against Linfield which gave us a platform to go forward and challenge them, and I thought we made it difficult for them.”

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