INSTITUTE: Grace & McCrudden win the points
Institute in the end ran out comfortable 2-0 victors over Loughgall.
After a disappointing first half were neither side created much, although Stute had the upper hand, it was Kevin Deery’s side who upped the tempo and ran out deserving winners.
Goals from Niall Grace and Michael McCrudden ensured the Drumahoe side made it two league victories from their opening four games.
Stute made five changes to their side which were knocked out of the League Cup to Harland & Wolff Welders, with Marty Gallagher, Ryan Morrow, Aaron Harkin, Gareth Brown and McCrudden all coming back into the starting line-up.
The Waterside men went close on eight minutes as Grace feed McCrudden, but the winger’s tame 10 yard strike was straight at Loughgall keeper Gareth Buchanan.
Institute went close on 40 minutes as Grace’s close range header from Brown’s cross was superbly saved by Buchanan.
Right on the stroke of half-time the home side had another good chance, but Ciaron Harkin dragged his half volley well wide from 14 yards.
Early in the second half ex-Institute striker Warren Mullen, saw his 20 yard free-kick hit the side netting.
The visitors had a good chance on 50 minutes but after Francis McCann had found some space inside the box, he failed to trouble Gallagher and fired over.
Institute did take the lead on 57 minutes as Brown’s clever knock down found Ciaron Harkin, his strike from just inside the box was blocked by Josh Finlay but Grace’s follow-up shot from 20 yards flew into Buchanan’s bottom right hand corner.
The Villagers should have levelled things on 65 minutes as Stute failed to deal with a high ball but centre-back Finlay saw his side footed shot from six yards easily saved by Gallagher.
Two minutes later substitute Stephen Curry saw his left wing corner find Stephen O’Donnell, but the Stute skipper saw his powerful header flash inches wide.
The home side doubled their lead on 81 minutes and effectively ended the game as a contest.
Grace rose well to flick on and the alert McCrudden got in behind the Loughgall defence, before cooly lobbing the out-rushing Buchanan.
Institute: Gallagher, Morrow, O’Donnell, McDermott, McFadden; McCrudden, A Harkin, C Harkin, Doherty (S Curry 56); Grace (Cooley 86), Brown (Armstrong 67).
Loughgall: Buchanan, Devlin, Taylor, Finlay, McCann (Uprichard 72), Dallas, McMaster, Ferguson, Mullen, McConnell, Elliott.
Referee: T Clarke.