Irish Premiership: Blues beat Ports to go 10 clear at top

Portadown keeper Jacob Carney at full stretch to tip over against Linfield
Portadown keeper Jacob Carney at full stretch to tip over against Linfield

Linfield bounced back from a midweek defeat at Ballymena by edging out Portadown 1-0 to extend their lead at the Premiership summit.

Jordan Stewart fired home from a goalmouth scramble after 11 minutes at a windswept Shamrock Park.

The visitors bossed much of the game but Portadown posed a threat and Adam McCallum hit the crossbar.

Blues striker Andy Waterworth had a goal controversially ruled out but the leaders won to go 10 points clear.

The champions capitalised on a 2-1 defeat for second-placed Coleraine at Cliftonville earlier on Saturday but they had to work hard to overcome an impressive Ports side.

Linfield had the wind on their backs in an action-packed first half but the hosts were first to threaten with Chris Johns keeping out a Stephen Teggart strike.

Inches away

It wasn't long before the Blues showed their potency with Waterworth seeing his front-post header cleared off the line by Nathan Kerr.

Adam Salley smashed into the Linfield side-netting before Stewart popped up with the only goal of the game.

Portadown failed to clear from a corner and pinball in the boss ended with Stewart rifling into the net from six yards.

Delight for Jordan Stewart after scoring against Portadown on Saturday evening
Delight for Jordan Stewart after scoring against Portadown on Saturday evening

Ports keeper Jacob Carney produced a superb save to deny Waterworth before McCallum's looping header struck the woodwork at the other end.

Waterworth's celebrations after heading in were short-lived after the referee's assistant adjudged that the ball had gone over the line when Michael Newberry sent in his cross - replays showed that it was a very tight call.

Johns got down well to keep out a Bonis shot just before the break and after a scrappy start to the second half the Ports striker threatened again by volleying wide and then fizzing straight at the Blues keeper from long range.

Carney saved from a Ross Larkin header before Linfield defender Mark Haughey glanced just wide with the last chance of the game.

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