Institute 0-2 Linfield
The score-line didn’t really tell the full story, as Institute may have caused a big Irish Cup shock, but in the end Linfield deservedly saw off the ten men.
Unfortunately after the game referee Ian McNabb was the man everyone at the ground was talking about; as some of his decisions at crucial stages of the tie; seemed to favour the Premiership men.
Institute made three changes to their side which disappointingly lost at the PSNI in their last outing with Darryl McDermott, Michael McCrudden and Raymond Foy all starting.
As for the Blues they made five changes from their team which saw off Dungannon Swifts last weekend, with Chris Casement, Niall Quinn, Jamie Mulgrew, Josh Carson and Cameron Steart all starting.
Institute should have had a penalty on 14 minutes but referee McNabb felt Jamie McIntyre had dived inside the box after Chris Casement’s tackle and instead of pointing to the spot, he awarded a free-outand cautioned the winger.
The visitors went close to breaking the deadlock moments later as Carson fed Quinn down the left wing and his cross found Stephen Lowry, but his side footed strike was saved brilliantly by Stute keeper Marty Gallagher.
On 25 minutes, Linfield missed another glorious chance when Stewart played in Andy Waterworth, but the striker was denied by a super stop by Gallagher.
Stewart did give the visitors the lead on 50 minutes in somewhat fortunate circumstances as Quinn’s cross deflected off Stephen O’Donnell and looped over Gallagher, before Stewart headed home from close range.
After falling a goal behind the home side made two changes with Gareth Brown and Stephen Curry replacing Raymond Foy and Sammy Morrow respectively, as they tried to get back into the cup tie and they thought the substitutes worked on 72 minutes.
Aaron Harkin’s free-kick from the right found Mark Scoltock at the back post, his powerful header flew past Roy Carroll, but referee McNabb cut the celebrations short as he felt there was pushing inside the box.
To compound matters, McNabb, who had cautioned Harkin after just three minutes, showed the midfielder a second yellow card followed by a red for taking his protests too far.
Soon after Gallagher had to make another outstanding save, this time the keeper did well to tip over Casement’s 25 yard free-kick.
Linfield booked their place in the quarter-final on 78 minutes as they caught out the ten men when Waterworth broke the offside trap and showed good composure to slot the ball home past Gallagher.
Kevin Deery’s side never gave up and they went close to pulling one back minutes later, but Carroll made an impressive stop to keep out Michael McCrudden’s goalbound effort.
Then right at the death a McCrudden free-kick found Scoltock, but the big centre-back’s header flashed inches wide.
Institute: Gallagher, O’Donnell, Scoltock, McDermott, R Morrow (Jarvis 85); Harkin, Foy (Brown 55), Grace; McCrudden, S Morrow (Curry 61), McIntyre.
Linfield: Carroll, Casement, Haughey, Callacher (Stafford 66), Quinn; Fallon (Millar 63), Mulgrew, Lowry, Carson; Stewart, Waterworth.
Referee: Ian McNabb (Glengormley).