Comrades produced a toothless display to fall to defeat at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium against Institute.
The hosts carried the greater threat right from the start. In the 9th minute they took the lead when Leppard headed in at the near post from a corner.
With the visitors looking nervous Institute continued to look dangerous and on 20 minutes Friel had a headed goal ruled out for offside. Then in the 35th minute Clarke found himself in space to shoot from the edge of the box, but he fired wide.
In addition to struggling defensively, Comrades were lacklustre going forward in the first half. The only time the home ‘keeper was tested was in the 37th minute when a Gary Donnelly volley from 22 yards forced him to make an awkward save.
After the break Comrades started on the front foot, but it was the hosts who continued to create the chances. On 51 minutes the ball was slipped through to Friel inside the box for a great chance, but he slid the ball wide of the post. Then a minute later the same player hit the post with a header from a dangerous cross.
Despite having substantial amounts of possession Comrades failed to create anything resembling a clear chance in the second half, with their build-up play often too laboured, allowing the hosts to get set in a defensive shape.
Institute had a good chance to double their lead on 77 minutes when Liam Hassin was robbed of possession deep in his own half, which allowed the ball to be fed to Friel inside the box, but he was denied by a fine block from Declan Breen advancing from his goal.
The destination of the three points was put beyond doubt in the 85th minute when indecision at the back from Comrades was taken advantage of by Friel who this time made no mistake, slotting past Breen from 10 yards.
Comrades’ miserable night was completed a minute into injury-time when Owen McConville was sent off for a second bookable offence.