Gray shines in cup victory

Joe Gray.
Joe Gray.

WHAT a difference a week makes.

Institute cruised into the quarter-final’s of the Coca/Cola Intermediate Cup after seeing off a spirited Harland & Wolff Welders side 3-1, on Saturday.

For probably the first time this season Paul Kee’s side started the game on the front foot and unlike their previous outing when Kilmore Rec deservedly knocked them out of the Irish Cup, the Waterside men were always in control after their super start to the tie.

The home side got off to the perfect start, breaking the deadlock after just three minutes following a fantastic flowing move.

Midfielder Aaron Walsh played a super cross field pass from the middle of the pitch to Michael McCrudden, the left winger’s centre to the back post found an in-rushing Joe Gray who directed his header past Welders keeper James Taylor.

Soon after ’Stute missed a good chance to increase their lead when McCrudden’s cross following a well worked corner routine found Paddy McLaughlin at the back post his knock down found Dean Jarvis, but the defender’s close range shot was blocked by Scott Adams.

The Belfast men missed a golden opportunity to level things on 15 minutes when Davy Larmour’s close range header was somehow kept out by keeper Marty Gallagher.

That missed chance came back to haunt the visitors as the Drumahoe men did double their lead in comical circumstances when Gray’s high cross from the right should have been easily caught by Taylor, but the Welders keeper, who had spilled an earlier cross, incredibly dropped the ball into his own net.

Welders pulled one back on 19 minutes when an attempted back header by Dean Jarvis to Gallagher fell well short and the alert Stephen Garrett made no mistake looping the ball over the stranded ’Stute keeper.

Institute amazingly scored a third goal on 23 minutes when a defensive splitting pass by Gray from the edge of the box, released James McClay and the youngster bravely slid in to guide the ball past the out-rushing Taylor.

In what was a disappointing second half, the Drumahoe men suffered a set-back on 60 minutes when youngster McClay had to be helped off the pitch, after he suffered a knee injury.

The only other note worthy incident came nine minutes later Larmour missed a sitter to get his side back in the tie when Curtis Black’s cut-back found the ex-Linfield man on the penalty spot, but he failed to trouble Gallagher and blasted well over the bar.

Institute: Gallagher, Roddy, McLaughlin, Jarvis, McKeever; Gray, Walsh, McClay; McCauley, Mullan, McCrudden. Subs: Hume for McClay (60); McFadden for Mullan (75); Semple. Parkhouse & Hegarty (not used).

Harland & Wolff Welders: Taylor; McMurray, Armstrong, Adams, Muir, Magee, Larmour, Harris, Devine, Black, Garrett. Subs: Verner & Brown for Larmour & Black (72); Gallagher & Miskelly (not used).

Referee: Mr Lee Tavinder (Dungannon).

Cautioned: Garrett (31); Roddy (73).