INSTITUTE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
ARDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
INSTITUTE’s Head of Development, Paul Kee, believes the Drumahoe club is still ‘in the mix’ for promotion to the Irish Premiership following their latest victory on Saturday afternoon.
SIMON COLLINS reports
Victory over fourth placed Ards at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday certainly keeps alive the club’s slim hopes of a return to the top flight, but Kee knows they must win all of the five remaining games if they are to challenge rivals Newry City and Bangor for that second spot.
In fact, ‘Stute are one of five teams with a realistic chance of going up - not including runaway leaders Ballinamallard - and Kee is confident his side can maintain a significant challenge given their recent league form.
The Waterside men were worthy winners against 10 man Ards who paid the price for the first half dismissal of midfielder, Jimmy McIlhagga, as goals from Davitt Walsh and Graeme Crown sealed maximum points.
And Kee believes his side was always in control of the game and fully deserved the three points.
“It keeps us in the mix now with five games remaining,” said Kee. “We have a target to win every match so the players are all on the final countdown and they are all up for it.
“The amount of control we had over the game was first class,” he added. “We were very good. We controlled the match from start to finish and we got the goals at the right time, just before half-time and after half-time.
“With the greatest respect to Ards, I don’t think our goalkeeper had a save to make in the whole game. Their management said that the game was close, but they must have been watching a different game from me because we were well worth the 2-0 win.
“But there’s no room for error. The games are running out and the points are running out.”
The home side were denied what appeared a legitimate goal on 15 minutes when Joe McCready’s close range effort was ruled out for offside.
Ards faced an uphill struggle when McIlhagga received a second booking for hauling down McCready when he had raced through on goal.
And ‘Stute made their numerical advantage count when McCready burst into the penalty area and rolled the ball across the face of goal where Davitt Walsh applied the finishing touch. Two minutes after the restart ‘Stute sealed the points when Sean Roddy’s corner was met on the volley by Crown who rifled his effort into the net.
Institute - Gallagher; Roddy, Jarvis, Crown, McLaughlin; Harkin, McCauley, McCrudden, Walsh (Semple 76); McKeever, McCready (Parkhouse 80).
Ards - McKibbin; Pike, Cully, Spence (Berry 8), Cully; McMillan, McDowell (Picking 78), Smith, McIlhagga; McKee (Devine 38), Arthurs.
Referee - S. Wallace, Derry.