FOOTBALL: 'Stute battle back to earn a point
Institute 2-2 Portadown
Institute will feel it’s two points dropped rather than one gained, as they missed a host of gilt-edged chances, against a battling Portadown side.
On another day, ’Stute’s Niall Grace would have netted a hat-trick, but the big midfielder, who has been superb this season, failed to take one his clear cut chances.
As for the Ports, their young players will be disappointed that they let the lead slip twice, but they certainly gave their all for the 90 minutes and but for some tremendous defending by Caoimhin Bonner in the closing stages, they may have nicked it.
The visitors started the stronger and they were inches away from taking the lead but keeper Marty Gallagher did well to deny Gary Warwick, but the deadlock was broken from the resulting corner on six minutes.
Kyle Neill’s right wing corner somewhat caught everyone out and ended up in the back of the net.
Institute should have levelled things on 18 minutes but Grace’s effort on the slide was kept out by Ports keeper Chris McGaughey.
The home side did equalise minutes later as Aaron Harkin’s right wing corner found an unmarked Dean Curry, who made no mistake, powerfully heading home from close range.
Ports went back in front on 34 minutes as more poor defending by ’Stute ended with Chris Lavery firing low into Gallagher’s bottom left hand corner.
In the closing stages of the half, both Lavery and Warwick went close with long range strikes.
After the break, ’Stute brought on Jake Morrow for Caoimhin McCallion and the young midfielder scored the all important equaliser on 61 minutes, his 20 yard left footed drive took a massive deflection on it’s way past McGaughey.
After the leveller the home side went in search of a winner, with Grace in particular missing a host of clear cut chances.
A super Harkin free-kick found the vice-captain, but his powerful header failed to test McGaughey, then five minutes later Grace blasted over from just inside the box.
In the closing stages Grace had his final effort, this time his curling strike, which had McGaughey beaten, flashed inches wide.
Institute: Gallagher, R Morrow, Bonner, D Curry, Seydak; McCallion (J Morrow 50), Harkin, Grace; S Curry (R Wilson 90), McCrudden, Brown (Dunne 58).
Portadown: McGaughey, McCullough, McVey, McCallum, Neill (Brennan 30), Wilson, Henderson, Warick (Holmes 67), Balde (Amunke 90), Lavery. Salley.