Battling Institute frustrate Larne

Striker Joe McCready fired home his fourth penalty of the season, to give Institute the lead at Inver Park.
Striker Joe McCready fired home his fourth penalty of the season, to give Institute the lead at Inver Park.

Larne 1, Institute 1

Institute produced a type of performance manager Sean Connor wanted, as they battled hard for a deserved share of the spoils at Larne.

Connor was disappointed after their poor showing against Cliftonville last week, but his chargers rolled their sleeves up and in the end picked up a hard earned point, at Inver Park.

Institute made three changes to their side which lost to the Reds last week, with skipper Dean Curry, Ryan Morrow and Niall Grace all coming into the starting line-up at the expense of trio Shaun Leppard, Shane McNamee and Aaron McGurk, who were all named as substitutes.

As for the home side they made just one change bringing in ex-Derry City centre-back Shane McEleney for Albert Watson, who dropped to the bench, as they looked to end a four game losing streak.

The woodwork denied Larne the perfect start on two minutes as midfielder Fuad Sule saw his 25 yard left footed drive, which had Stute goalkeeper Rory Brown beaten, rattle the crossbar.

Stute's first real shot on target came on 16 minutes as Graham Crown's long throw-in was headed partially clear by Sule, but fortunately for the midfielder, Colm McLaughlin's right footed strike was easily saved by Larne keeper Conor Devlin.

The deadlock was broken somewhat against the run of play two minutes later as Sule gifted possession to Gareth Brown, he fed McCready, who got in behind McEleney and the big centre-back bundled the Stute man to the ground, referee Lee Tavinder rightfully pointed to the spot.

McCready dusted himself down and made no mistake, firing a low into Devlin's bottom right hand corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Institute's lead only lasted six minutes as Johnny McMurray's shot on the turn was blocked by Conor Tourish, but the loose ball fell kindly to Martin Donnelly, who calmly curled the ball home from just inside the box.

The visitors went close to regaining the lead again on 27 minutes as McCready's long range free-kick was tipped over by Devlin.

Larne missed a golden chance to take the lead on 39 minutes as some superb play by Donnelly, saw him get away from a few challenges, right on the byline inside the box, before his cut-back found an unmarked Davy McDaid, but the former Derry City front man blazed over with the goal at his mercy.

Soon after McMurray found McDaid in behind the Stute defence, but his goal-bound strike was bravely blocked behind for a corner, by a sliding Tourish.

Neither side created much in the early moments of the second half, with Stute's Aidan McCauley's long range strike the only really serious effort.

Larne, who brought on Albert Watson for Mark Randall at the break, made another two changes in quick succession just after the hour mark with Lee Lynch and Ben Tilney replacing McEleney and Sean Graham respectively.

On 67 minutes a long ball over the top released McDaid, who after a super first touch, did well to hold off Tourish, but his shot from just inside the box was saved by Brown.

The home side should have done better on 69 minutes after Tomas Cosgrove's run to the byline ended with his inch perfect right wing cut-back finding an unmarked McMurray on the penalty spot, but the ex-Ballymena United striker completed missed his kick and Graham Kelly blasted over the loose ball.

The final chance of the game came on 80 minutes as Larne missed a super opportunity to take the lead as Lynch's left wing corner found Harry Flowers at the back post, but the centre-back's close range header, which had beaten a stranded Brown, whistled just wide.

Larne: Devlin, McEleney (Lynch 64), Flowers, Kelly; Cosgrove, Sule, Randall (Watson HT), Donnelly, Graham (Tilney 65); McDaid, McMurray.

Institute: R Brown, Bonner, Tourish, Curry; Morrow (Leppard 91), Crown (McNamee 70), McCauley, Grace, C McLaughlin; G Brown (B McLaughlin 57), McCready.

Referee: Lee Tavinder