Sat 9 Apr - 15:00 | Brandywell Stadium

Institute

McFadden 12', McLaughlin 90+3'

2-1

Ballyclare Comrades

Mooney 49'

Sat 9 Apr | Brandywell Stadium

2-1

Institute

McFadden 12', McLaughlin 90+3'

Ballyclare Comrades

Mooney 49'

Pre-Match Guide

We travel to Brandywell Stadium tomorrow afternoon to take on Institute in our first post-split fixture in the Lough 41 Championship.

Match Info

When: Saturday 9th April – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Brandywell Stadium

What: Lough 41 Championship

Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession)

The Opponents

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

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.

Teams

Match Report

A very late goal from the home side denied Comrades a point from their trip to the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium to play Institute.

Institute started on the front foot and were to be the dominant force for most of the first half. In the 6th minute the ball was cleverly played to the edge of the box from a corner to Dunne who curled an effort inches wide of the post.

The host’s early pressure paid off on 11 minutes with the opening goal. The ball was played in from a corner and not cleared, falling to McFadden who drilled it home from 6 yards.

Comrades’ first threatening attack came in the 14th minute and they probably should have got the equaliser from it. Andrew Mooney got on the end of a ball played over the top of the Institute defence and broke free on the left before pulling the ball back to the edge of the box where Caiolan Brennan hit a well struck shot which ‘keeper Connolly was forced to parry out. The loose ball then fell to Tom Mathieson, but he could only fire over from 5 yards out.

On 21 minutes the home side came close again when McFadden won an aerial duel at the edge of the box which gave him the chance to strike a low shot that went just wide of the target.

The visitors had a golden opportunity to level the scores on 24 minutes when they were awarded a penalty. Caiolan Brennan, who proving his side’s most potent weapon with his surging runs, darted into the box and was brought down. However, from the spot Ian Fletcher saw his effort well saved Connolly.

From then on the rest of the first half was a story of chances for the hosts. In the 27th minute Parkhill stung the palms of Richard Purcell with an effort from 16 yards. Then, two minutes later, a cross from the left found the head of McFadden 6 yards out, but Purcell was well positioned to make a comfortable save. Only a few seconds passed before another chance came the way of Institute. This time Brown was set free by a simple through ball, but fired wide from 15 yards.

On 31 minutes Richard Purcell was again called into action when Parkhill got onto the ball 20 yards from goal and struck a great effort which forced a good save from the Comrades ‘keeper.

The hosts could well have been out of sight at the break, but shortly after the restart Comrades were back on level terms. They came out and pushed forward at the start of the second half and were rewarded three minutes in when Andrew Mooney picked up on a stray pass across the Institute defence and strode forward to hit a fine finish over Connolly from 15 yards.

The visitors now had their tails up and for a while looked like they might be able to take the lead. They had a great chance to do so two minutes after the equaliser when Adam Gray got forward into space on the left and played a good ball into the near post which was met by an Andrew Mooney volley four yards out, but the chance wasn’t taken as the effort went over the bar.

In the 54th minute Comrades came close again when Tom Mathieson picked up on a poor clearance from the ‘keeper and drove into the box before firing narrowly wide of the far post from 14 yards.

The visitors’ period of dominance faded as the game entered a rather scrappy phase where chances were hard to come by for either side. When things livened up again it was the hosts who started to look the more threatening team again. On 73 minutes a corner was met by a McDermott header 6 yards out, but Richard Purcell did very well to make the save and hold onto the ball with opponents ready to pounce. Two minutes later a cross from the right found the head of Walsh whose effort from 7 yards was turned onto the bar by another fine save from Purcell.

On 77 minutes a mistake at the back from Adam Gray allowed McFadden to run in on goal, but Richard Purcell was alert to make an excellent block. Then, in the 79th minute, a ball over the top eluded the Comrades defence giving Brendan McLaughlin the chance to get into the box, but he slashed his resulting effort wide from 15 yards.

The closest Comrades came in the latter stages of the game was in the 85th minute when Andrew Mooney fizzed in a shot from 30 yards which Connolly was forced to turn over the bar.

It looked as if the visitors would hold on for a draw, but there was to be late heartbreak for them. Three minutes into injury-time, with claims for a foul on Liam Hassin in the centre of the field turned away after a very robust challenge, Institute broke forward and a cross was delivered to the back post where Brenda McLaughlin was unmarked to head in from inside the 6-yard box and grab victory for his team.

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