PSNI 1-0 Institute
Institute suffered back to back defeats for the first time this season.
The Drumahoe men were particularly poor in the final third at Newforge on Saturday and in the end the PSNI ran out deserved winners.
In fact, but for some top drawer saves by Stute keeper Marty Gallagher, the home side would have won by a bigger margin.
The defeat means Kevin Deery’s men have in recent weeks only picked up seven points from a possible 21 on offer.
Stute also have only kept two clean-sheets in their last 10 league outings, something which the Drumahoe men will want to sort out sooner rather than later.
James Kirk’s men seemed to settle better in the glorious sunny conditions and they went close to taking the lead on 15 minutes.
Midfielder James Wright saw his long range strike superbly tipped around the post by a fully stretched Gallagher.
The winning goal came on 29 minutes as a super passing move ended with Stuart Hutchinson getting in behind the Stute back-line before coolly slotting the ball past an out-rushing Gallagher from a tight angle.
Just after the half-hour Gallagher had to make another outstanding save, this time his got his finger tips to turn Wright’s 25 yard free-kick onto the bar.
Institute, who never really got into things during the opening 45 minutes, went close right on the stroke of half-time.
Winger Jamie McIntyre saw his stinging 20 yard drive flash inches wide, with PSNI keeper Jordan Williamson well beaten.
The visitors started the second half with a bit more pressure and they had a half chance on 53 minutes but Sean Roddy’s cross-cum-shot clipped the outside of Williamson’s left hand post.
Moments later Stute boss Kevin Deery made a double change with new signing Andy Devlin and Michael McCrudden coming on to replace Roddy and Stephen Curry.
Unfortunately those substitutes never really worked and it was the PSNI who went close to doubling their advantage on 68 minutes.
Once again Gallagher was called into action as diving low to his left, he parried away Wright’s well hit 20 yard free-kick.
Worryingly for Deery, although he brought on fellow new signing Raymond Foy in the final quarter, his side never troubled keeper Williamson and in the end the home side ran out comfortable and deserved victors.
PSNI: Williamson, McCullagh, McCrory, McDermott, A Wright, J Wright (Courtney 76), Anderson, Berry, Adamczyk, Hutchinson, McWilliams.
Institute: Gallagher, Roddy (Devlin 60), O’Donnell, Scoltock, R Morrow; Curry (McCrudden 60), Harkin (Foy 76), Grace, McIntyre; Brown, S Morrow.
Referee: James McGrath (Belfast).