Institute 3-1 Harland & Wolff Welders
Institute got their Championship league campaign up and running with a comfortable win over Harland & Wolff Welders.
Goals from Sean McCarron, Stephen O’Donnell and Michael McCrudden ensured the Waterside men gained their first league success of the season.
In truth Kevin Deery’s men were always comfortable after their blistering start, which saw McCarron opening the scoring in the first minute.
The Waterside men took the lead after just 10 seconds when a training ground routine from the kick-off worked perfectly.
Straight from the kick-off Aaron Harkin switched the play to the right were Niall Grace headed the ball back in-field to Michael McCrudden, his cushioned header found McCarron, who broke the offside trap and gleefully chipped the ball over the diving Welders keeper Samuel Johnston from close range.
Welders themselves went close to levelling things on four minutes but Danny McKee’s close range strike was kept out by Stute net-minder Marty Gallgher.
The visitors levelled things on eight minutes as Scott Davidson made no mistake from the penalty spot, after Dean Curry had pushed David Rainey inside the box, leaving referee Declan Hassan with no option to point to the spot.
Institute doubled their advantage on 26 minutes after a great finish by skipper Stephen O’Donnell.
The centre-back was moved into right-back for the day broke into the Welders box before controlling McCarron’s knock-down and calmly firing home past Johnston.
A terribly short back-pass by Dean Curry fell short and David Rainey nipped in before passing to Davidson, but the midfielder blasted over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Another flowing move by Stute right on the stroke of half-time ended with McCrudden’s left wing centre found Niall Grace, but his glancing header from 10 yards flew just wide.
Institute started on the front foot and they went close adding a third on 48 minutes but McCarron blazed over.
Minutes later McCrudden did well to skip past a few challenges before his shot was saved by Johnston.
On 59 minutes Institute did score a third in superb fashion as McCrudden showed some neat skill to get away from his marker, before curling the ball high into Johnston’s top left hand corner.
Johnston had to make a great save just after the hour mark as Niall Grace’s 25 yard pile driver was tipped over by the Welders keeper.
In the closing stages Welders had a good half chance but substitute Ethan Boylan’s close range strike, while under pressure from O’Donnell, flew over the bar.
In stoppage time Stute substitute Jamie Dunne raced clear of the Belfast men’s defence, but his tame left footed strike was easily saved by Johnston.
Institute: Gallagher, O’Donnell, Scoltock, D Curry, McFadden; A Harkin (Dunne 87), C Harkin, Grace; S Curry (Cooley 62), McCarron (Armstrong 72), McCrudden.
H&W Welders: Johnston, McMurray, Nixon, McMillan, Harris; Davidson, Devine (Boylan 66), Deans (Middleton 66), Armstrong; Rainey, McKee.
Referee: Mr Declan Hassan