Leicester U23s 0-4 Liverpool U23s
Goals: Norris 45+3′, Bearne 49′, Stewart 60′, Balagizi 84′
But the occasion was also significant for the return of Stewart in the XI, a week on from his appearance off the bench after 13 months out with an ACL injury.
And the forward’s first start in domestic competition in more than a year was to be a memorable one.
James Norris was the one to break Leicester‘s resolve in first-half stoppage time and the scoreboard was compounded when Jack Bearne added another just four minutes after the half-time break.
It represented Bearne’s fifth goal in his last six outings with Morton notching two assists as the Reds’ dominance was rightly reflected.
But it was the turn of the hour that saw Stewart’s moment arrive, getting on the end of Norris’ pass to make it 3-0 from distance with his shot coming in off the inside of the post, ending a 14-month wait to score for Liverpool once again.
? Lovely first goal back for Layton Stewart – his first in 14 months after a long-term ACL injury.
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) April 26, 2022
The scenes of celebration made with his teammates spoke volumes before his pre-planned substitution after 60 minutes.
“It was so nice to see Layton score as he has been out for a while,” Lewtas told the club’s official website.
“It was a great goal, a great finish and a different type of Layton goal, to be fair, with a shot from distance.
“The celebrations with the lads told its own story and it was lovely to see. It’s been a long road for him but he has done really well.”
James Balagizi, who came on in place of Stewart, put the finishing touches on the win by following up Bearne’s effort that struck the bar with six minutes remaining to make it 4-0.
The result saw the young Reds cruise to victory to extend their unbeaten run to nine games in what was the penultimate Premier League 2 game of the season.
Liverpool U23s: Davies; Bradley, Williams, Koumetio, Beck (Quansah 82′); Clarkson, Morton; Elliott (Corness 46′), Norris, Bearne; Stewart (Balagizi 61′)
Subs not used: Kelly, Clayton