PAUL CARLYLE has warned his players to raise their game or face being dumped out of a second cup competition in five days when they entertain Irish Premier League giants, Glentoran in the Irn Bru League Cup at the Riverside tonight. (Kick-off 7.45 p.m.)
SIMON COLLINS reports
The ‘Stute Assistant boss was frustrated with the manner in which the Drumahoe men crashed out of the Craig Memorial Cup following an emphatic loss to North West neighbours Limavady United at Rathmore Road on Friday night.
It was a below-par performance from the reigning champions and while admitting the Championship One campaign remains the priority, he expects his troops to produce a positive response against the East Belfast men tonight.
“Limavady were looking to make up for their recent defeat at the Riverside in the league and we made three mistakes and were punished for them,” said Carlyle last night.
“I sound like a broken record but we’ve got to do better,” he added. “We can’t afford to have just three or four players playing and that’s exactly what happened. “Limavady wanted it more and they had more hunger and determination than us, it’s as simple as that.
“We went into the game on the back of two good league wins and two clean sheets and there was probably a bit of arrogance and complacency on our part and that’s not acceptable.
“The league is the priority but I’m disappointed that we’re out of the competition because I would have liked to have defended the Craig Memorial Cup.”
Despite the heavy loss Carlyle is confident his side can bounce back and produce a shock win if they can become more clinical in the final third.
“We’ll have no problem getting the players motivated for the game against Glentoran,” added Carlyle.
“There’s never a problem for the big games and especially when the ‘big two’ come to Drumahoe. If we can get that cutting edge in the final third then we will cause them problems.
“They’re coming off a defeat to Crusaders at the weekend as well so Glentoran will be coming here like a wounded animal and we’ll have to be prepared for a reaction from them.”
The ‘Stute management will be boosted by the return of Stephen Parkhouse following a long stint on the sidelines and the striker will be named in the squad alongside Dean Jarvis who returns following suspension for tonight’s clash.
And they could certainly have been doing with the services of both those players against the Roesiders’ on Friday night as they were punished for their inaccuracy in front of goal and three defensive lapses as Limavady booked their place in the last four of the Craig Memorial Cup.
The scoreline, however, did not adequately reflect the balance of play as the match was must closer, the ‘Roesiders’ taking a 1-0 lead early in the first half but had to wait until late in the game when two goals in a period of four minutes killed off the hopes of the cup holders.
The home side took the lead against the run of play when Ruairi McClean snapped up a loose ball inside the box after the ‘Stute defence failed to clear and he drove a low shot to the let through a forest of legs.
‘Stute fought back with the influential Joe Gray pulling the strings in midfield against his old club, but they lacked a cutting edge and their only chance of the half was a late goal bound effort which was deflected for a corner.
Following a double substitution just after the hour, Institute pushed forward playing some incisive football and they had a glorious chance to equalise when Dean Carlyle bore down on goal but a superb reaction save from McCormick preserved Limavady’s lead.
Limavady doubled their lead in the 75th minute when Friel reacted first to head home Morrison’s inviting cross and Institute were in trouble.
The clinching goal arrived four minutes later as United launched a swift counter-attack through Friel and then the “man of the match,” McClean, played in Blackburn and he fired low into the bottom corner.
Revenge, therefore, was sweet following the recent league defeat at the Riverside Stadium.
Limavady United - McCormick, Roddy, Morrison, McConaghie, McNulty, Patrick, Mullan, McClean, Parkhill, Doran (Friel 8 mins.), Blackburn (Logue, 87). Subs not used: McIvor, McAllister, Close
Institute - Gallagher, Roddy (McCauley, 74), Taylor ( McFadden, 63), Crown, McLaughlin, Walsh, Carlyle, Gray, Dougherty (McCready, 63), McCrudden, McKeever. Subs not used: Curran and Coyle.
Referee - Mr. John Deighan.