We travel to Brandywell Stadium tomorrow afternoon to take on Institute in our first post-split fixture in the Lough 41 Championship.
When: Saturday 9th April – Kick-Off 3:00pm
Where: Brandywell Stadium
What: Lough 41 Championship
Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession)
Institute currently sit in 10th position in the Lough 41 Championship, just 4 points behind the Comrades. Last gameweek, Institute picked up an important three points with victory over Knockbreda at Breda Park. The win sees Brian Donaghey’s side leapfrog ‘Breda out of the bottom two. They moved in front on 11 minutes when Mark McFadden fired past Daniel Oates from ten yards after being teed up by Gareth Brown. ‘Breda levelled just three minutes later, however, through Max Greer from close range after Gareth Muldoon couldn’t keep the ball out. The visitors might have restored their advantage when Conor Quigley hit the post from a corner but, on 20 minutes, they did go back in front when McFadden slotted home the rebound after Ian Parkhill’s initial effort had to kept out. That was how it stayed until just before the hour when Nathan Johnston fired home Knockbreda’s second equaliser from Liam McKenna’s cut back. Institute came close to going back in front with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining but Jamie Dunne’s free-kick struck the bar while Liam Walsh fired the rebound over. But the winner came with a couple of minutes to go through Brendan McLaughlin with a low finish past Oates.
The Comrades enter the post-split period sitting in 9th position, 6 points behind Dundela in 8th and 4 points ahead of tomorrow’s opponents, Institute. During our last game before the split, Newry City took a step closer to the Lough 41 Championship title with a comprehensive defeat of the Comrades at Dixon Park. Darren Mullen’s side are four points clear at the top of the table going into the final five games of the campaign, and effectively just one win away to securing at least a promotion play-off spot. However, they had to come from behind to get the better of Ballyclare after Tom Mathieson had opened the scoring on 40 minutes after being played through by Michael Smith. Newry levelled eight minutes after the break, however, when James Teelan gave Jack Ferguson no chance with a decent finish before, three minutes after that, Darren King got on the end of a Daniel Hughes cross to edge the visitors into the lead. They extended their advantage on 69 minutes through half-time substitute Declan Carville’s looping header at the back post, with the same player adding a fourth soon after with a strike through a crowded area into the corner of the net. Then, with three minutes remaining, Hughes completed the scoring with an effort into the far corner. Newly appointed boss, Stephen Small said “The players need to adopt that mindset in terms of their desire to go and win games and what we need to do is try and finish top of our mini-league at the tale end of the table. It’s going to take all of us to be tight as a group, showing great desire and work ethic”.
Last Time Out
The last time these two sides met, two goals late in the second half saw Institute come from behind to defeat Ballyclare Comrades at Dixon Park. The home side needed just ten minutes to open the scoring when an Ian Fletcher cross deep into the box was only partially cleared allowing Liam Hassin to get to the ball and nod past John Connolly. Ballyclare could have doubled their advantage before the break when new signing Caiolan Brennan tested Connolly with an effort from just outside the box, before teeing Michael Smith up moments later to fire just over. Brennan was involved again just after the hour when he nodded the ball on for fellow transfer window arrival Ryan Arthur while Arthur himself turned provider soon after with a free-kick to the back post but Hassin could only head slightly off target. However, Institute levelled on 77 minutes when Brendan McLaughlin, who had come close a few minutes earlier, headed past Jack Ferguson. Then, right at the death, Mark McFadden knocked home what proved to be Institute’s winner with a fantastic individual finish with the last kick of the game.