Institute 0-1 Newry City
Newry City blew the Championship title race wide open, with this narrow win at leaders Institute.
Mark McCabe’s 88th minute winner was enough for the visitors to claim what was a massive victory, as they cut the lead at the top of the table to just one point, although ’Stute have played a game less.
In fairness a draw probably would have been a fair result as both sides had chances, but a goalkeeping error from the usually relaible Marty Gallagher meant McCabe’s header won the game.
Paddy McLaughlin’s side seem to have hit a bit of a wall in recent weeks as they have only had one victory in their last five league games.
However in this encounter they started on the front foot and in truth missed a few good chances in the opening 45 minutes.
In an hectic opening ’Stute skipper Michael McCrudden had a great chance to give his side the lead on seven minutes, but his tame left footed strike from inside the box was straight at City keeper Steven Maguire.
A minute later Robert Mackin broke in behind Mark Scoltock, but with only Gallagher to beat, the striker’s shot was tipped onto the post by the goalkeeper.
Gallagher was called into action on 14 minutes as he kept out James Walker’s powerful 25 yard stinging drive.
Virtually straight away the home side had Newry on the counter attack as Niall Grace broke clear of the visitor’s defence, but instead of shooting when well placed inside the box he attmepted pass to McCrudden was cleared.
Early in second half a clever cross by Ronan Wilson found Gareth Brown at the back post, but the winger’s left footed strike was bravely blocked by City defender Kevin McArdle.
Just after the hour mark the woodwork came to Newry’s rescue as Aaron Harkin’s free-kick found Scoltock, but his glancing header was turned onto the post by Maguire.
Neither side created much after Scoltock’s header as both defences were on top, but it was the visitors who were inches away from breaking the deadlock on 80 minutes as Walker’s clever chip seem to Gallagher beaten, but the keeper scampered back to tip the ball over the ball.
Unfortunately after producing that top draw save Gallagher was at fault for the only goal of the game minutes later.
Walker’s teasing right wing centre drew Gallagher away out from his goal-line and a brave McCabe out-jumped Ryan Morrow to head the ball into the unguarded net from just inside the box.
Institute: Gallagher, Morrow, Scoltock, D Curry, Seydak; Harkin, Jarvis, Grace; Wilson, McCrudden, Brown.
Newry City: Maguire, McArdle, Noonan, Boyle, King; Mackin, McCann, Carville, Walker; Hughes, McCabe.