Battling Institute earn deserved point against leaders Newry City

Institute 0, Newry City 0

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 8:40 pm
Institute midfielder Shaun Doherty takes the ball off Newry City's John McGovern, during Saturday's draw, at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Picture by George Sweeney.

Institute produced a superb defensive display to secure a deserved share of the spoils against Lough 41 Championship leaders Newry City.

While Darren Mullen's men had the better chances throughout the 90 minutes, the battling performance from the Drumahoe club meant they deserved a point.

Having a host of players missing through Covid and illness, Brian Donaghey's squad were always going to be stretched, however the starting eleven in particular, limited the visitors to very few clear cut openings.

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John Connolly's second half penalty save to deny Daniel Hughes will grab all the headlines, but it was young defenders Shaun Leppard and Rhys McDermott who were resolute throughout the 90 minutes at the heart of the Stute defence.

The understrength Stute side struggled in the opening quarter as the league leaders started on the front foot, with both Mark Kelly and Hughes up top causing the home side problems in the early stages.

Connolly had to keep out Hughes' early free-kick and the keeper was delighted to see John McGovern's dipping 20 yard drive, which had him beaten, sail just over.

The home slowly started to get into the game and they were inches away from taking a 25th minute lead, but Shaun Doherty's curling long range effort, whistled just past Steven Maguire's left hand post.

Newry went close to breaking the deadlock right on the stroke of half-time as Hughes' clever flick over the top found Kelly, but the ex-Stute man's close range effort was saved and gathered by Connolly.

McGovern, who was a threat on a few occasions in the first half, linked up well with Hughes on 50 minutes, but his effort on goal from the left hand side of the box, was straight at Connolly.

Newry were reduced to ten men on 63 minutes as Stephen Moan, who was cautioned in the first half, was rightfully dismissed by referee Diarmuid Harrigan for a second bookable offence when he brought down Jack Bradley.

Harrigan was the centre of attention minutes later as he controversially pointed to the spot, after Joel Gorman was adjudged to have fouled Noel Healy inside the box, as the youngster looked like he caught the Newry man when making a pass down field. The home side will feel justice was served as Hughes' resulting penalty was saved by Connolly, as the keeper dived low to his left to tip the effort around the post.

Philip Donnelly's resulting corner, which found McGovern at the near post, but his clever flick towards goal, which had Connolly beaten, was headed off the line by Patrick McLaughlin.

The home side went close to grabbing all three points on 85 minutes as Brendan McLaughlin won possession from Darren King, but despite having substitute Montel Atoge free alongside him, his attempted chip sailed over the bar and the chance was wasted.

Institute: John Connolly, Patrick McLaughlin, Tiernan Brown, Shaun Leppard, Rhys McDermott; Aidan McCauley (Montel Atoge 83), Joel Gorman, Shaun Doherty, Joshua Busteed; Brendan McLaughlin, Jack Bradley.

Newry City: Steven Maguire, Darren King, John Boyle, Ryan McGivern, Noel Healy; James Teelan, John McGovern, Stephen Moan, Philip Donnelly; Mark Kelly (Stephen Lawless 79), Daniel Hughes.

Referee: Diarmuid Harrigan (Derry).