INSTITUTE: Brown nets late, late equaliser
This 2-2 draw at Lurgan Celtic, felt like a win for Institute and the point maybe priceless at the end of the season.
Missing five first team regulars - Mark Scoltock, Stephen O’Donnell, Darryl McDermott, Shane McGinty and Jamie McIntyre - and trailing 2-0 in the 90th minute, goals from Michael McCrudden and Gareth Brown ensured the Waterside men battled back for a share of the spoils.
Experienced defender Paddy McLaughlin, who was making his first appearance for Stute in a year and youngster Cathal Connolly, who got his first taste of senior football, and both men played their part in the battling point.
The home side had the first chance of the game on 18 minutes when Brendan Shannon’s 25 yard drive, after his initial fre-kick was charged down, had it turned on to the post by Stute keeper Marty Gallagher.
Lurgan took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Sean Roddy’s header back to Gallagher fell short and striker Aaron Haire nipped in to round the out-rushing keeper and turn the ball into the empty net.
Gallagher was called into action on 43 minutes when he tipped Josh Barton’s shot onto the bar.
Lurgan doubled their advantage from Shea Conaty’s resulting corner as the big centre-back Hutchinson made no mistake heading home from close range.
On 53 minutes Lurgan goalkeeper Conor McCorry made a remarkable save when at full stretch he managed to tip Roddy’s 20 yard free-kick around the post.
Lurgan went close to adding a third on 75 minutes but after some super skill by Sean Devlin, the ring winger’s shot from just inside the box was kept out by Gallagher.
On 85 minutes Haire should have sealed the points but with only Gallagher to beat the big striker side footed wide from close range.
A minute later another super save denied Institute a goal back when McCrudden’s close range strike was instinctively kept out by subtitute keeper Gavin O’Neill.
Then the madness started on 90 minutes when Daniel Wilson stupidly brought down Niall Grace inside the box and McCrudden made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick, firing high into O’Neill’s top right hand corner.
With virtually the last kick of the game McCrudden’s tremendous pass found Brown inside the box and the striker made no mistake firing home from close range, to spark wild celebrations from the travelling support.
Lurgan Celtic: McCorry, Wilson, Rodgers, Hutchinson, Cochrane, Malone, Barton, Shannon, Conaty, Haire, McVeigh.
Institute: Gallagher, Roddy, McLaughlin, Connolly; Jarvis (Pomeroy 53), C Harkin (Mills 67), A Harkin, Grace, Hume (Dunne H-T); McCrudden, Brown.