Institute manager Kevin Deery was thrilled after their nail biting but deserved win over Loughgall, on Saturday.
The victory combined with Ballyclare Comrades defeat, meant ’Stute move into second spot with two games remaining.
Deery was full of praise for duo Martin Gallagher and Ryan Morrow, after the goalkeeper made a tremendous stoppage time penalty save, while the right-back made a super last ditch block to seal the points.
“It was two tremendous last minute saves,” admitted Deery.
“Marty from the penalty and Ryan Morrow with a match winning block.
“It was a harsh penalty from where I stood. There were a couple of crazy decisions from the officials but Marty has done really well. It’s a tremendous save.
“For me, he has been a tremendous player for us this year and at this stage of the season you call on players to produce big moments.
“Everyone has to step up; it was Sammy (Morrow) against the PSNI; this weekend it was Marty’s penalty save and Ryan’s block.”
The ’Stute boss was quick to admit that he was more relived after Gallagher’s penalty save, rather than Jamie McIntyre’s crucial winning goal.
“It was more relief to be honest. The goal was really fortunate so I never got really emotional, but you’re thinking that you have conceded a penalty in the last second and we have dropped two points, but then the two boys come up with two great moments. I loved that and the boys are delighted in there," he said.
“We are doing everything out here for the love of it, and sometimes when decisions go against you, you get a bit disheartened, but thankfully we got the win.”
Deery felt his side did more than enough to win the game but he also conceded that they rode their luck, particularly when it came to McIntyre’s winning goal, which took a massive deflection on its way into the net.
“We hit the post two or three times and we dragged a couple wide and for half an hour in the first half we were very forceful, looked dangerous and took the game right to them,” he added.
“We were unfortunate not to go in a couple of goals up at half-time. In the second half, we didn’t create as much but we got a break with the deflected goal.
“I thought we were doing well, managing the game after that and we were looking really comfortable. But then there’s a long throw into the box and the referee gives the penalty against us.
“Niall (Grace) has done nothing to him, but the boy falls down and he gives the penalty, but thankfully Marty kept the penalty out.”