Stute battle back

Linfield's Kirk Miller tussles with Institute's Stephen Curry during Saturday's game at the Riverside Stadium. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Linfield's Kirk Miller tussles with Institute's Stephen Curry during Saturday's game at the Riverside Stadium. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye

After last week’s last minute heartache, Institute were the side celebrating a late goal, this time earning a 1-1 draw against Linfield, on Saturday.

The Drumahoe men, who last week conceded in stoppage time to Cliftonville, had Paddy McLaughlin to thank for their share of the spoils against the Windsor Park out-fit.

Although Warren Feeney’s side were dominant in the first half as they didn’t let the home side settle into any type of rhythm, but they failed to drive home their advantage and in the end their lacklustre second half display combined with Stute’s tremendous never say die attitude meant Paul Kee’s side deservedly earned a point.

Linfield started on the front foot and they went close on five minutes but Stephen Lowry’s pile-driver was well saved by Stute goalkeeper Michael Doherty, who incidentally was emotional at the end of the game as he was playing his final match for the club.

Soon after Doherty was called into action again but this time Ivan Sproule was unable to turn the ball home from close range, after Mark Scoltock’s terrible header fell straight into the Blues man’s path.

The Belfast out-fit did break the deadlock on 27 minutes when Sproule came back to haunt his old club.

Lowry’s defensive splitting pass released the ex-Hibernian winger, who just got away from Graham Crown, before turning the ball home past the out-rushing Doherty from 10 yards.

The woodwork saved Doherty’s blushes just before the break when he fumbled Chris Hegarty’s shot onto the crossbar, but the net-minder redeemed himself by keeping out Peter Thompson’s follow-up effort.

Whatever Paul Kee said at half-time seemed to do the trick as the home side were like a completely new team and they started to push Linfield further and further back, with Stephen Curry’s pace causing them problems.

Stute, who seen Darren McCauley’s goal early in the second half disallowed for offside, should have equalised on 60 minutes when McLaughlin’s super pass released Curry, who had only Jonathan Tuffey to beat, but his shot was saved by the keeper.

Shortly after the woodwork came to Linfield’s rescue as that man Curry got away from Matthew Clarke but his low shot from 12 yards, which had Tuffey beaten, rattled the post.

Linfield missed a golden chance to finish the game off on 73 minutes but centre-back Jimmy Callacher somehow headed wide from close range after Kris Miller’s free-kick had created the opportunity.

Institute kept their heads up and deservedly earned a share of the spoils on 86 minutes as substitute Cormac Burke saw his left wing free-kick draw Tuffey from his line and the alert McLaughlin was on hand to head into the unguarded net.

Institute: M Doherty, McLaughlin, Scoltock, Crown; Curry, Walsh, McManus, Forker (Burke 39), McKeever (B Doherty 74); McCauley (McBride 74), O’Flynn.

Linfield: Tuffey, Hegarty, Richards, Haughey, M Clarke; Lowry, Callagher (Clucas 74), Burns; Sproule, Thompson (Feeney 67), Miller.

Referee: Mr Colin Burns (Newtownabbey).