Many pundits’ favourites to struggle in their return to the top flight, Institute have raised a few eyebrows following their opening five games.
And two victory, two draws and one defeat has seen Paul Kee’s men occupy a place in the top four with many now holding the view that ‘Stute will be the surprise packages of the season.
However, following Saturday’s slender victory over basement side Warrenpoint, the Drumahoe club’s boss insisted that his side must improve on Saturday’s performance if they are to maintain their position in the top half of the Premiership.
Now eight points clear of Saturday’s opposition, the win was far from straightfoward as the Co. Down side dominated the final 15 minutes forcing Institute onto the back foot.
But while it was not a memorable display, Stephen O’Flynn’s timely first half header secured the Drumahoe side’s second league win of the campaign.
Now preparing for a difficult trip to second placed Ballymena tomorrow night, Kee expects a much more improved display.
“Warrenpoint made it difficult for us throughout the entire game,” declared the ‘Stute boss.
“But our defence was excellent and keeper, Rory Kelly, when he was called upon, did well so I’ve very pleased that we kept a clean sheet.
“We were more interested in holding onto the goal instead of scoring a second and then we got edgy and couldn’t get out in the last 10 minutes.
“Ultimately it was about getting the three points and we’ve done that even though we’ve played better in games we’ve lost, but that’s the nature of football.
Kee heaped praise on his new striker after the Co. Cork native netted the only goal in the 43rd minute.
“Stephen (O’Flynn) was in the right place at the right time. He’s got good presence inside the box and if he can get good service, he can be very dangerous.
“But we need to do better at Ballymena. We need to keep the ball better and get up the pitch and give the defence a break because it will be a tough match on Tuesday.”
The visitors enjoyed the best of the goalmouth action during the opening half hour and went close when Stephen Moan’s diagonal cross from a free-kick found Dermot McVeigh lurking at the back post and his header was saved by Kelly.
Just before half time the hosts netted that vital breakthrough as McKeever floated a superb cross into O’Flynn inside the Warrenpoint penalty area and the Cork man steered his header into the far corner.