Institute battle hard to earn point against leaders Loughgall
Institute 1, Loughgall 1
Institute battled hard for a share of the spoils, as Lough 41 Championship leaders Loughgall, had chances to win the game, at a foggy bitterly cold Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Second best for most of the first half, Brian Donaghey made two changes - Mark McFadden and Jamie McCormick - at the break, as his side tried to get a foothold in the game and those changes worked as they took the lead thanks to Cathair Friel's fifth goal of the season, however the Villagers deservedly earned a share of the spoils as substitute Tiernan Kelly equalised in the final quarter.
Pablo Andrade's clever back-heel on two minutes found Nedas Maciulaitis, but the striker's left footed effort from the right hand side of the box was tipped over by 'Stute keeper Dylan Doherty.
The home side who were chasing shadows in the early stages had strong claims for a penalty 17 minutes after Mark Carson seemed to bundle Friel to the ground inside the box, but referee Neil Robinson waved away their appeals.
On 23 minutes a neat pass by Maciulaitis found Mark Patton, but after the winger cut in from the left, his curling strike was easily gathered by Doherty.
Just after the half-hour mark a teasing right wing cross by Rhys McDermott found Friel at the back post, but his well hit shot on the turn was saved by a diving Loughgall keeper Berraat Turker.
Minutes later Doherty had to make a big save when with his left hand he parried away Nathaniel Ferris' close range shot.
On 43 minutes a superb Andrade right wing centre found Ferris at the near post, but with the goal at his mercy the big striker headed over from six yards.
Striker McCormick, who replaced Oisin Devlin at the break, should have made an instant impact when he won possession on the half-way line off centre-back Ben Murdock, but his close range strike was straight at Turker.
'Stute took the lead 52 minutes as Friel turned the ball home from close range, after McCormick's hassling had created the chance, the Coleraine loanee nipped in ahead of Turker to divert the ball into the net.
After the hour mark more good work by McCormick ended with his cross finding Friel, who in turn fed Andrew Whiteside on the edge of the box, but the midfielder's strike was straight at Turker.
Loughgall missed another golden chance when after a swift counter attack the ball fell perfectly for Andrew Hoey, but he blasted over from 10 yards.
The visitors deservedly levelled things on 74 minutes as substitute Kelly made no mistake powerfully heading home from close range, after Maciulaitis' inswinging right wing corner had picked him out, but the decision to award the corner was what rightfully frustrated the home side as the ball seemed to just go straight out of play.
Soon after Institute centre-back Shaun Leppard should have done better but the big defender headed over when well placed inside the box.
Doherty had to make a top drawer save on 86 minutes as Loughgall's Eoin Teggart went close to scoring the winner, but the substitute's stinging 20 yard drive, which was moving in the air, was turned around the post by the young net-minder.
Institute: Dylan Doherty, Rhys McDermott, Shaun Leppard, Matthew Walker, Ronan McAleer (Mark McFadden HT); Alonzo Clarke, Oisin Devlin (Jamie McCormick HT), Cormac Burke (Shaun Doherty 78); Andrew Whiteside, Cathair Friel, Jamie Dunne (Darragh Kelly 78).
Loughgall: Berraat Turker, Mark Carson (Tiernan Kelly 66), Ben Murdock, Pablo Andrade, Alan Teggart, Nathaniel Ferris (Eoin Teggart 57), Andrew Hoey, Nedas Maciulaitis, Robbie Norton, Mark Patton, Luke Cartwright.
Referee: Neil Robinson.