INSTITUTE: Morrow rescues vital point for promotion chasing 'Stute
Institute 1, PSNI 1
EXPERIENCED striker, Sammy Morrow came off the bench to score a dramatic 89th minute equaliser which could prove vital in Institute's push for promotion as they kept third placed PSNI at arm's length.
The visitors looked like they were well on their way to a valuable victory thanks to Paul McDowell's stunning first half volley which gave them the advantage and when Sean Roddy's penalty kick was saved superbly by Jordan Williamson with 10 minutes to go, 'Stute had it all to do.
However, second half substitute Morrow came up with the goods in the final minute to head home Aaron Harkin's inswinging free-kick and breathe new life into 'Stute's bid for promotion as they remain in third, three points ahead of PSNI with three games remaining.
The home side created the first opening of the game after four minutes when McCrudden's defelcted shot sat up well for Curran who headed over the crossbar.
PSNI responded 60 seconds later when Jonathan Courtney cut the ball back to Joe McWilliams who made a run inside the penalty area but his well struck left footed effort sailed narrowly over the bar.
From an inswinging Harkin free-kick on the left side of the PSNI penalty area, Stephen O'Donnell rose highest but sent his glancing header wide of the far post on seven minutes.
However, against the run of play the visitors broke the deadlock in stunning fashion on 19 minutes after McDowell's powerful strike on the volley from 25 yards sailed into the top corner.
'Stute keeper, Martin Gallagher will have been disappointed with his positioning as he drifted off his six yard line but he would needed to have produced a top drawer save to deny the visiting striker.
'Stute continued to press and O'Donnell's header from 10 yards was headed clear by Adam Wright but for all of the Drumahoe club's dominance of the ball, they couldn't find that vital touch in the final third.
And PSNI almost punished their hosts in the opening seconds of the second half when Mark Scoltock allowed the ball to run through to his keeper but Darius Roohi intercepted only for his lobbed attempt to go wide of the mark.
Four minutes later and McDowell almost doubled PSNI's lead with another spectacular effort from distance, this time, however, his strike on the volley cannoned off the underside of the crossbar.
At the other end Friel-Curran got past his man at the edge of the area and laid the ball into the path of McCrudden but his strike from 12 yards was saved by the outstretched foot of Jordan Williamson.
It was end to end action and PSNI came close again when Joe McWilliams cut inside before drilling his strike across the face of goal and it deflected just wide for a corner.
On the hour mark Sean Roddy sent substitute Aaron Jarvis in behind the PSNI defence but his cross from the right was missed by both Friel-Curran and then McIntrye at the back post.
Substitute, Gareth Brown had a close range header saved comfortably following an inviting cross from Roddy while Sammy Morrow headed over the crossbar from a similar ball from the 'Stute right-back.
'Stute were gifted a way back into the game with 10 minutes to go when McIntrye was brought down inside the box by James Wright and the referee's assistant flagged for a penalty. Up stepped Roddy but his well struck spot-kick was put behind the post by a strong hand of Williamson.
It looked like three lost points for 'Stute but they continued to battle and when Harkin sent in a dangerous free-kick from the right, Morrow climbed above his marker to thunder his header into the back of the net to rescue a previous point.
Institute - Martin Gallagher: Sean Roddy, Stephen O'Donnell, Mark Scoltock (Aaron Jarvis 57), Dean Curry; Stephen Curry, Raymond Foy (Gareth Brown 57), Aaron Harkin, Jamie McIntyre; Michael McCrudden (Sammy Morrow 65), Kyle Friel-Curran; Subs Not Used - Andy Devlin, Gareth Muldoon.
PSNI - Jordan Williamson; Mark McCullagh, Adam Wright, Ashton McDermott, Nathan Riddle; Owen Moody, James Wright, Joe McWilliams, Jonathan Courtney (Nathan Khan,64); Darius Roohi ( Taylor Kirk 87), Paul McDowell (Lukasz Adamczyk 78).
Referee - T. Clarke.