Instonians close gap on Banbridge

Instonians' Jordan Robinson and Antrim Jonny McMeekin
Instonians' Jordan Robinson and Antrim Jonny McMeekin

William Robinson was delighted to secure three very important league points, which took his Instonians side within touching distance of Premiership leaders Banbridge.

With the game of the day being ruled out because of the snow, between Lisnagarvey and Bann, Inst are now only three points behind Bann.

The Antrim Forum was like an oasis in the middle of all the white stuff.

It had completely escaped the snow, whilst only half a mile down the road it was a winter wonderland.

“We were delighted to get this game played,” said Robinson.

“It is always difficult coming here and to secure three points was an added bonus.

“They are a big strong side and they made us work hard. We would have liked more goals but at least we were creating the chances.

“We controlled most of the game and even though we hit the post and crossbar, that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

So any thoughts of winning the Premiership?

“No, we are taking one game at a time. Next week is a massive game for us against Garvey at Shaw’s Bridge, so we will just have to see what happens.”

Inst had a dream start after their Irish international Paul Gleghorne put them two up after only five minutes.

It looked as though Antrim were in line for another ‘tanking’ but they dug deep to contain Inst and on 15 minutes could have reduced the deficit, only Adrian Murtland blasted the ball over the cross-bar.

That miss was costly, as five minutes later Inst were awarded a penalty stroke when Alan Patterson’s shot was illegally stopped on the line by a defender’s foot and William Robinson made no mistake from the spot.

With five minutes of the half remaining, Antrim were thrown a life line when Stuart McIlroy jigged his way into the Inst D, to calmly slot the ball past Richard Johnston in the Inst goal.

Five minutes into the second half, Jordan Robinson pounced on a cross only to see his shot smash off the upright. And minutes later, Gleghorne was unlucky not to seal his hat-trick, when his penalty corner deflected off the crossbar.

On 53 minutes Inst were reduced to nine men, when Steven Redpath and John Watson were sent to the sin bin in quick succession but Antrim could take advantage.

And just as they returned onto the pitch, Inst went further ahead, this time Stephen Kelso latching on to a Gleghorne cross to seal the points for the visitors.

After the game, Antrim skipper, Alan Mullan said: “We always knew it was going to be a tough game as Inst have been playing really well this season.

“Our main focus is the next five games. We have shown teams like Cookstown, Bann and now Inst that we are capable of competing against them and we can play some very good hockey.

“We are confident that we can stay up, everyone is working really hard. It is always difficult for a team that comes up into the premiership and we knew it would come down to games against teams like Mossley, Harlequins and Kilkeel, as it is difficult to take points off the top sides.”