Glentoran see off Institute in drab encounter

Darren Murray scored the opener at the Oval.
Darren Murray scored the opener at the Oval.

Glentoran 2-0 Institute

Second half goals from Darren Murray and Marcus Kane sealed Glentoran's deserved victory over Institute, at a rain swept Oval.

The three points ensure that the East Belfast men have booked their place in the European play-off's, while for Institute, finishing eighth on their return to the flight, is a fantastic achievement.

The Glens made two changes to their side which drew with Warrenpoint Town in mid-week, with William Garrett and Christopher Paul Gallagher replacing Calum Birney and Steven Gordon, who both dropped to the bench.

As for the visitors they to made two changes from their team, which defeated Newry City on Tuesday night, with Gareth Brown and Paul Smith starting in place of Jamie Dunne and Thomas McBride, who both were among the substitutes.

The game took place on a awful Oval surface, which had only just passed an early morning pitch inspection and the terrible windy conditions didn't help either team.

The home side missed a golden chance on 11 minutes as Nathan Kerr’s right wing cross found Robbie McDaid, but the striker headed wide from 10 yards.

Minutes later a Curtis Allen free-kick deflected straight into Gallagher’s path, but his strike from the edge of the box, was diverted wide.

Glentoran should have done better on 23 minutes when a super passing move ended with John Herron's flick finding Murray, but he blasted well over when in space inside the box.

Just after the half hour mark, Murray went even closer, but his shot on the turn from 20 yards, whistled just past Gallagher's left hand post.

Soon after the woodwork came to ’Stute’s rescue as Kerr’s pile driver from 20 yards, which took a slight deflection off Joe McCready and again had Gallagher beaten, rattled the post.

Moments later another high ball into the ’Stute box caused problems but Caoimhin Bonner did well to block Herron’s close range strike, which was goal bound.

Early in the second half Bonner made another top draw block, this time diving in front of Murray’s goal bound strike.

Institute’s first shot in anger came on 52 minutes but Aaron Jarvis’ 25 yard shot, flew well over.

Glentoran were forced into a change six minutes later as goalkeeper Elliott Morris, who had treatment in the first half, was replaced by youngster Paul McLaughlin.

The home side missed a golden chance to take the lead on 61 minutes as Dean Curry’s sliced clearance fell to Herron, but the midfielder’s tame strike from 12 yards was straight at Gallagher, who easily gathered.

Institute nearly took the lead against the run of play seven minutes later, as Gareth Brown’s left wing shot took a big deflection off Gavin Peers and had substitute keeper McLaughlin beaten, but the Glens centre-back’s blushes were saved, as the ball landed on top of the net.

Mick McDermott’s side took the lead on 75 minutes from the penalty spot, after Bonner’s challenge on Allen, resulted in referee Jamie Robinson pointing to the spot, from which Murray, made no mistake, stroking the ball into the bottom right hand corner.

The Glens sealed the points on 90 minutes as Gallagher’s left wing corner found Kane and the centre-back’s close range header, nestled in the bottom corner.

Glentoran: Morris (McLaughlin 58), Kirk, Peers, Garrett, Kane; Herron, Pepper, Gallagher; Allen, Murray (Gwiazda 90), McDaid (O'Neill 72).

Institute: Gallagher, R Morrow, Bonner, D Curry, McLaughlin; Moorehead (S Curry 72), Doherty, Jarvis, Brown (Dunne 72); McCready, Smith (J Morrow 68).

Referee: Jamie Robinson (Lurgan).