Institute maintain impressive winning run
Institute 1-0 Ards
Institute secured another big win in the space of four days, but this victory over Ards, showed that Paddy McLaughlin's side can produce a roll the sleeves up like display.
'Stute had striker Michael McCrudden to thank for the win, as he fired home his 15th goal of the season, but in truth Marty Gallagher's stoppage time save to deny Eamon McAllister, meant the home side moved a massive 14 points ahead of Colin Nixon's basement side.
Paddy McLaughlin made two changes to his side which defeated Cliftonville on Saturday with Caoimhin Bonner and Aaron Jarvis coming in for Jake Morrow and Jamie Dunne, with the latter out of the squad complete with an hamstring problem.
As for the visitors they started Joshua Kelly replacing David McAllister, as they went in search of their first league win since October.
Ards nearly got off to the perfect start on two minutes but McAllister's 20 yard pile driver, which had Gallagher beaten, rattled the crossbar.
Ten minutes later a terrible defensive mistake by Mark Scoltock let in Michael McLellan, his right wing cross found Gareth Tommons, but the ex-Limavady United man saw his close range strike blocked on the line by Bonner.
Institute broke the deadlock in controversial fashion just after the half-hour mark when Dean Curry's header was adjudged by referee Jamie Robinson to have been handled by Michael Kerr and McCrudden side footed home his 10th goal in 11 league games, with the resulting spot-kick.
Ards should have levelled things on 50 minutes as Tommons right wing cross fell to Kyle Cherry at the back post, but after breaking the offside trap, he failed to trouble Gallagher and blasted well over.
Institute should have doubled their lead on 60 minutes when a good run and cut-back by Joe McCready found McCrudden, but his controlled effort from 20 yards curled just past Sam Johnston's left hand post.
Moments later and as the visitors continued to press for an equaliser they were nearly caught out on the break but McCready's curling strike close to the left hand touchline, fizzed just wide.
On 70 minutes McCrudden's free-kick, after Ronan Wilson was upended on the edge of the box, had Johnston beaten, but came back off the post.
Johnston was called into action against on 77 minutes as Wilson saw his drive parried away by the Ards shot-stopper.
With virtually the last kick of the game McAllister should have levelled things, but his close range effort was somehow kept out by an alert Gallagher.
Institute: Gallagher, Bonner, Scoltock, D Curry; Wilson, Jarvis, Harkin, Doherty; McLaughlin; McCrudden, McCready.
Ards: Johnston, Kerr, McAllister, Byers, Cherry (Strain 64), McLellan (M Kelly 75), J Kelly, Tommons, McClean, Nelson (Mitchell 82), McAleenan.
Referee: Jamie Robinson.