Institute 2-2 Ballyclare Comrades
At the end of the season this battling draw could mean a lot to Institute.
The Drumahoe men had to come from 2-0 down to in the end earn a share of the spoils against a well organised Ballyclare Comrades side.
Kevin Deery’s men were second best for large parts of the first half, but they were given a lifeline right on the stroke of half-time thanks to Jamie McIntyre’s goal and in the end they’ll be happy with a share of the spoils.
Stute, who currently sit just a point behind today’s opponents and have played a game less, went into the game fresh from an impressive 4-0 victory at Loughgall last weekend.
They made two changes from that winning side, with Ryan Morrow and McIntyre coming in for Stephen Curry and Andy Devlin.
As for Comrades, who have appointed ex-Wakehurst manager Clifford Adams as their new boss this week; however he was sitting in the stand watching this afternoon’s game, as temporary boss Stephen Hughes had his final game in the hot-seat.
Comrades, who had won one in their last five games, having lost their previous four before last weekend’s narrow win at Dergview, welcomed back striker Chris Trussell.
The visitors should have taken the lead on 17 minutes but Trussell fired over from close range, after Michael O’Hanlon’s cushioned knock down created the chance.
The deadlock was broken two minutes later after a defensive mix-up with Stute keeper Martin Gallagher and defender Darryl McDermott.
The Stute net-minder came out of his goal to mop up, but his pass to McDermott was over-hit and the alert Corey McMullan was on hand to gleefully fire the ball home into the unguarded net from some 30 yards.
Comrades doubled their lead on 36 minutes as Denver Taggart’s left footed strike at the back post, took a slight deflection off Sean Roddy, as the ball flew past Gallagher.
Stute, out of no where pulled one back on 42 minutes, as McIntyre ghosted in at the back post, before slotting the ball past Comrades keeper Patrick Flood.
Deery made a change on 54 minutes bringing on Gareth Brown for Kyle Friel Curran and within a minute his side were level.
With his first touch the striker latched onto Gallagher’s long punt down field and made no mistake, his left footed strike fizzed home past Flood.
Just after the hour mark a bizarre piece of play by Michael McCrudden nearly gifted Comrades the lead again.
The midfielder, some 25 yards from goal, chested the ball down before volleying it back to Gallagher and fortunately for the keeper just as he lifted his hands to keep the ball from going into the net, the back-pass rattled the crossbar before the keeper cleared the loose ball.
On 85 minutes the Dixon Park men thought they had won the game, but McMullan’s celebrations were cut short, as the referee’s assistant had his flag up and the effort was ruled out for offside.
Right at the death Stute could have won it, but Brown’s close range header, with Sammy Morrow in a better position, flew well over.
Institute: Gallagher, Roddy, O’Donnell, McDermott, Morrow; Foy, Grace, McCrudden; Curran (Brown 54), Morrow, McIntyre (Pomeroy 78).
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Woods, Gray, Johnston, Youle, McIlveen, O’Hanlon, Dobbin, Trussell, McMullan, Taggart (Shannon 72).
Referee: Declan Hassan.