Institute 1-0 Newry City
INSTITUTE begun life in the Brandywell with a hard fought win over a well organised and hard working Newry City.
Paddy McLaughlin had skipper Michael McCrudden to thank for their opening day success, but in truth it was 'Stute's defence which stood firm, particularly in the closing stages, as Newry piled on the pressure in pursuit of an equaliser.
McCrudden's cool finish meant the large support went home happy, after what was a nervy finish to the encounter. As for Darren Mullen's side they had a number of very good chances particularly in the first half, but on too many occasions they failed to test keeper Marty Gallagher.
Newry City started the better, but it was 'Stute who had the first real chance on 13 minutes but after some neat skill on the edge of the box, McCrudden saw his left footed strike easily gathered by keeper Steven Maguire.
Moments later Newry had a good opportunity to take the lead but centre-back Dara Noonan headed wide at the back post, after Mark Hughes' right wing corner had picked him out.
'Stute took the lead 19 minutes somewhat against the run of play, as Aaron Harkin's sublime pass in behind City defender John Boyle, released McCrudden, who made no mistake slotting the ball home past the out-rushing Maguire.
Soon after some wonderful build-up play ended with Mark Hughes' well hit drive from inside the penalty box, was well kept out by Gallagher.
Just after the half-hour Newry missed a golden chance to level things, as Declan Carville headed wide from close range after Hughes' free-kick had picked out the big midfielder.
On 53 minutes a neat piece of skill by McCrudden ended with his cross falling to Callum Moorehead, but the young winger blasted well over the bar from just inside the box.
Just after the hour mark City substitute Conall Delaney played a neat one two with Stephen Hughes before seeing his 20 yard strike take a deflection off Caoimhin Bonner.
Institute should have added a second on 66 minutes in bizarre fashion as Moorehead's attempted lob over a back-tracking Maguire, saw City keeper superbly keep the effort out and McCrudden somehow fired the rebound wide when it looked easier to score.
Newry continued to pile forward in search of a equaliser as Paddy McLaughlin's men started to retreat in the final 10 minutes.
A Johnny Walker corner on 82 minutes wasn't cleared properly by Gallagher, but fortunately for the keeper the ball fell to Darren King and the defender blasted well over, with their last real good opening.
Institute: Gallagher, R Morrow, Bonner, D Curry, McLaughlin; Harkin, J Morrow, S Curry (R Wilson 67); Dunne (McIntyre 82), McCrudden, Moorehead (Brown 88).
Newry City: Maguire, King, Noonan, Boyle, Healy (Rushe HT), McCann, Carville, S Hughes (Walker 78), Taggart (Delaney 63), McCabe, M Hughes.
Referee: Steven Taylor (Belfast).