Loan Watch Update: Cheltenham loaned trio impress on debuts as Dunn and Stewart score

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Academy prospects Lloyd Jones, Kevin Stewart and Jack Dunn made early loan moves to Cheltenham Town on Thursday and the Reds loanees delivered the goods on their professional debuts on Saturday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79qZEnmluwg

Three of Liverpool’s under-21s made initial one-month loan moves in the Reds first action of the January transfer window, when centre-back Jones, full-back Stewart and attacker Dunn all joined League Two side Cheltenham Town this week.

The trio all went straight into the Robins’ starting XI for their local clash against Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium and contributed heavily to an excellent 2-1 win with all three completing the 90 minutes.

Trailing 1-0 after 40 minutes, Dunn scored the equaliser for Paul Buckle’s side after turning fantastically in the box before firing into the bottom corner at the near post on the half volley from a tight angle. Buckle revealed that his relationship with LFC academy director Alex Inglethorpe from their time at Exeter City proved key in bringing the Liverpool loanees to Whaddon Road.

Just when the scores looked to be level at half time, Stewart – who played in a central midfield role – put his new club 2-1 ahead when his curled effort from the edge of the box was fumbled by Oxford goalkeeper Ryan Harris and found the bottom corner as the ball bounced over the line.

Stewart was signed by Liverpool from Tottenham in the summer and has been used predominantly as a right-back for the under-21s.

Local lad Dunn – playing in a two man partnership up front – came close to notching his second of the afternoon but while he was thwarted in his efforts, the Scouser proved to be a constant threat throughout.

The two goalscorers will grab the headlines and plaudits for finding the net but the defensive work of Jones should not go unnoticed as the Welshman produced a solid performance in the Cheltenham back line – despite picking up a booking just 16 minutes into his senior football debut.

It was a fantastic start to life at Cheltenham for the young Reds, who all played vital parts in dragging Buckle’s side six points clear of relegation and sending the 499 travelling Robins fans home happy.

Speaking after the match, Buckle praised the trio: “All three did very well. It was positive by us to bring them in.

“You always fancy someone like Jack to score, he’s got quality. The strikers’ work-rate was phenomenal. When Jack scored it was the first time in the game that we got the ball wide. I’d been screaming at us to do that.

“That created the avenue for Jack and it was a stunning finish, a real finisher’s finish. And it was a brilliant time to score.

“Kevin’s goal was really well worked from us. We’d worked a lot in training on short corners because we thought Oxford might be vulnerable there. I thought we looked dangerous at corners all game, and it was a good strike from him.”

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