Crusaders easily see off ten men Institute

Crusaders 2, Institute 0

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 9:35 pm
Institute's Aidan McCauley tries to get away from Crusaders' David Cushley.

Crusaders booked their place in the Bet McLean League Cup Final, after easily seeing off ten man Institute, at Seaview.

Stephen Baxter's men didn't really get going until mid-way through the first half, but after David Cushley's opening strike, they always looked like the winners and in truth they should have been further ahead at the break.

'Stute were disappointing throughout and looked a shadow of the team, which deservedly seen off title contenders Coleraine, on Saturday and to make matters worse, striker Joe McCready was red carded in the second half, after stamping on Colin Coates.

His dismissal will annoy boss Sean Connor, who now goes into Saturday's league clash at Carrick Rangers, without his front-man.

Crues brought in goalkeeper Sean O'Neill for Gerard Doherty, who dropped to the bench; while Jordan Forsythe and Cushley replaced injury duo Rory Hale and Jordan Owens.

Institute made five changes to their side, which defeated Coleraine on Saturday, in came goalkeeper Paul Wells, defenders Ryan Morrow and Dean Curry and midfield pair Niall Grace and Aidan McCauley, with keeper Rory Brown, Stephen Curry, Shaun Leppard, Shane McNamee and Jack Bradley were all on the bench.

The visitors went close early on but Colm McLaughlin, who scored at Seaview a few weeks ago in the league, saw his close range header flash just over.

Crusaders striker David Cushley celebrates giving his side the lead against Institute.

Moments later a Philip Lowry clearance fell perfectly to Ross Clarke, who after cutting inside past Dean Curry, failed to trouble 'Stute keeper Wells and fired wide.

Stephen Baxter's side went close on 19 minutes as Jarlaith O'Rourke's super cross field centre found Cushley, but his header was straight at Wells.

Moments later Wells did well to keep out Clarke's effort, tipping the winger's right footed drive, over the bar.

'Stute defender Morrow cleared off the line on 30 minutes as he booted clear Coates' goal-bound header, after the centre-back was picked out from Clarke's corner.

Wells had to make a top draw save soon after when Forsythe's pass found Jordan McGonigle, but his well hit drive was superbly parried away by the 'Stute keeper.

Soon after the Shore Road men thought they had taken the lead from McGonigle's resulting corner, but Coates, header, which had beaten Wells, hit the woodwork before 'Stute cleared off the line.

The home side deservedly took the lead on 37 minutes as a clever through ball Clarke, found Cushley, who beat the offside trap, before calmly side footing home past Wells.

With their tails up Crues should have doubled their advantage moments later as Cushley found Heatley, but after getting in behind the 'Stute defence, the left winger was denied by the out-rushing Wells.

Right on the stroke of half-time Wells denied Lowry, as the goalkeeper saved the midfielder's effort at the second attempt, after Clarke had picked out the Limavady man inside the box.

The tie was over as contest on 52 minutes as the Crues doubled their lead when Forsythe chested the ball down inside the box, before firing low into Wells' bottom right hand corner, giving the keeper no chance.

Institute's miserable night got worse ten minutes later as McCready was rightfully shown a straight red card by referee Jamie Robinson, after he stupidly stamped on Coates, after initially clashing with the Crues skipper.

The Shore Road men had chances in the final quarter to increase their advantage but Wells did well to deny Clarke and McGonigle.

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates, O'Rourke; Lowry, Forsythe (Thompson 78), Cushley (McGinley 85); McGonigle, Heatley (McElroy 80), Clarke.

Institute: Wells, Crown, Tourish, D Curry (McNamee 54); Morrow, Tweed, McCauley, Grace (Leppard 73), McLaughlin; Brown (Burke 78); McCready.

Referee: Jamie Robinson (Portadown).