Jordan Stewart (4)


Jordan Stewart celebrates his match winner with Linfield fans (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)


Linfield maintained their three point lead at the top of the table with a win over Crusaders at Seaview.

The Blues only need a few minutes to open the scoring when Jordan Stewart capitalised on a mistake by Colin Coates to lob the ball over onrushing keeper Gerard Doherty.

Joel Cooper came close to adding a second not long after but, on this occasion, Doherty did well to deal with the powerfully driven shot.

At the other end Paul Heatley might have levelled only to send the ball over following some hesitation in the Linfield defence.

Linfield skipper Jamie Mulgrew threatened ten minutes before half-time with a run through the middle of the park but could only send the shot at the end of it over the bar.

The Crues had chances early in the second half, with Roy Carroll tipping Ross Clarke's cross over followed by a perfectly timed Jamie Callacher tackle when denied Declan Caddell.

But Linfield ended the game looking the more likely to score. A Kirk Millar cross almost deceived keeper Doherty while Mark Stafford headed just wide from a Niall Quinn corner with Millar turning a late effort curling over from the edge of the box.

Crusaders: G. Doherty, Burns, Beverland, Coates, Lowry, Cushley, Caddell, Ruddy, J. Owens, Heatley, Rr. Hale subs O'Neill (not used), Ward (not used), Forsythe (not used), Snoddy (not used), Clarke (replaced Cushley 46), Patterson (replaced Beverland 84), Rn. Hale (replaced Lowry 46)

Linfield: Carroll, Robinson, Callacher, Waterworth, Cooper, Stewart, Millar, Fallon, Mulgrew, Quinn, Casement subs Deane (not used), Stafford (replaced Callacher 56), O'Connor (not used), Clarke (not used), Kearns (not used), McClean (not used), Mitchell (not used)

Referee: Tim Marshall

Attendance: 2772

Tags:  Crusaders  Linfield