Mullan opens his account

Striker Stephen Parkhouse (left) fired home Institute's first goal against Rathfriland Rangers, on Saturday.
Striker Stephen Parkhouse (left) fired home Institute's first goal against Rathfriland Rangers, on Saturday.

INSTITUTE made life hard for themselves against Rathfriland Rangers, on Saturday, but in the end they deservedly won 2-1 and in doing so booked their place in the Irish Cup sixth round

Paul Kee’s side were always in control of things after striking duo Stephen Parkhouse and Warner Mullan gave them a two goal advantage, however a goalkeeping error by Corey Wilson saw Rangers’ striker Alastair Wilson pull one back just after the half-hour.

Despite that goal the County Down men never really threatened and it was the home side who in truth could and probably should have won by a bigger margin.

The deadlock was nearly broken on 11 minutes when Joe Gray’s fantastic right wing cross found Mullan, but the striker’s diving header while under pressure from Conor Larkin, was just about kept out by a full stretched Rangers keeper Shane Harrison.

A minute later and Rangers had a chance of their own when Wilson got in behind the ’Stute defence, but his low centre into the six yard box flashed just in-front of the unmarked Declan Allister.

Institute deservedly took the lead on 17 minutes when Michael McCrudden’s low centre across the six yard box and just out of Harrison’s reach, found an unmarked Parkhouse who gleefully bundled the ball into the empty net.

The Waterside men doubled their lead on 24 minutes after some terrible defending by the visitors.

Both centre-back’s Ian Weir and Conor Larkin got in a muddle and the alert Mullan was on hand to turn well and fire home from just inside the Rangers box, past a stranded Harrison.

A goalkeeping error by Corey Wilson resulted in the visitors pulling a goal back on 31 minutes when Allister’s right wing cross was fumbled by the ’Stute keeper and the alert Alastair Wilson was on hand to turn home the loose ball.

Right at the start of the second half a teasing Declan McKeever cross from the right nearly caught out Harrison, but the Rangers keeper did well to keep the ball out, after the ball flew through a ruck of players.

Parkhouse missed a golden chance to increase the home side’s lead on 50 minutes when Darren McCauley’s inch perfect cross found the big striker at the back post, but his close range header was straight at Harrison.

Another high ball into the visitors box wasn’t cleared properly and Gray’s effort from 12 yards was superbly kept out by the diving Alan Murray.

Mullan went close to scoring a third on 69 minutes when his low drive from just inside the box was kept out by Harrison and Gray’s follow-up shot from six yards, which had Harrison beaten, rattled the post.

In the closing stages ’Stute substitute Robbie Hume went close with virtually his first touch, but his effort on the half volley flashed inches wide.

Institute: Wilson, Gray, McLaughlin, Curran, Taylor; McCauley, Walsh, McKeever; Mullan, Parkhouse, McCrudden. Subs: Roddy for McKeever (63); Hume for McCrudden (86); Hegarty for Parkhouse (89); Crown & Varma (not used).

Rathfriland Rangers: Harrison, McComish, Weir, Larkin, Murray, Megaw, Heslip, Coulter, Beck, Wilson, Allister. Subs: Green for Heslip (72); Sexton for Weir (81); Gilmore & Bell (not used).

Referee: Mr John Deighan (Limavady).

Cautioned: Allister (14); Megaw (56); Taylor (58); Wilson (71).