IRISH LEAGUE: Captain McCrudden seals big 'Stute win

Institute captain Michael McCrudden scored the winner against Ballyclare Comrades.
Institute captain Michael McCrudden scored the winner against Ballyclare Comrades.
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Institute 2-1 Ballyclare Comrades

A second half strike from Michael McCrudden sealed Institute a deserved win over Bluefin Sport Championship leaders Ballyclare Comrades.

The skipper latched onto Niall Grace's clever pass, before showing great composure to slot the ball home past Comrades keeper Paddy Flood.

The celebrations and the needle between the sides at the final whistle, showed how big a win it was for Paddy McLaughlin's men, at the Limavady Showgrounds.

Comrades now sit three points clear at the top, but 'Stute have played three games less than the leaders.

Institute got off to the perfect start as they took lead on four minutes as Aaron Harkin's free-kick floated into the six yard box found Grace and the big midfielder's close range header was too much for Flood.

To Comrades credit they levelled things two minutes later as the impressive Adam Gray was given too much space on the edge of the box and the left winger made no mistake, drilling the ball low into Marty Gallagher's bottom right hand corner.

Moments later a super through ball by Ronan Wilson released Grace, but the midfielder failed to trouble Flood and shot wide from just inside the box.

The visitors were forced into a change on 15 minutes as Chris Rodgers replaced Micheal McQuitty, after the defender picked up what looked like a hamstring injury.

'Stute, who were on top for most of the first half, had two great efforts at goal just after the mid-way point but Grace was denied by Flood and McCrudden saw his low strike from just inside the box, flash just wide.

On 28 minutes more neat play by Wilson ended with the midfielder's cut-back finding Aaron Jarvis, but he dragged his close range strike just wide.

After the break again McCrudden and Grace went close on 50 and 52 minutes respectively, but on both occasions Flood made top saves.

Soon after Clifford Adams' side were unlucky not to take the lead as Gary Brown's outstanding 25 yard drive was superbly tipped around the post by Gallagher.

The winning goal came on 71 minutes as Grace's pass picked out McCrudden, who showed good strength to hold off his marker, before hammering the ball home past Flood.

Comrades substitute Mark Kelly should have levelled things on 82 minutes, but the ex-'Stute striker saw his attempted chip well kept out by the out-rushing Gallagher.

The final note worthy incident on 88 minutes saw the visitors reduced to ten men, as Brown was shown a straight red card after an altercation with 'Stute defender Ryan Morrow. The incident also resulted in both benches getting involved in an heated exchange, but in the end the situation was calmed down.

Institute: Gallagher, R Morrow, Bonner, Curry, Seydak; Harkin, Jarvis (J Morrow 81), Grace; Wilson, McCrudden (Scoltock 90), Dunne (Brown 60).

Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Youle, McCart, McQuitty (Rodgers 15), Dobbin, McIlveen, Brown, Robinson (Woods 78), Gray, Nixon, Johnston (Kelly 67).