Ards move off the bottom after seeing off Institute
Institute 0-1 Ards
ARDS moved off the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership, thanks to a hard fought win over an out of sorts Institute.
Michael McLellan’s superb free-kick secured Ards' second league victory away from home this season and moved them above Newry City on goal difference, with two games remaining.
Institute made two changes to their side which lost at Dungannon Swifts last week with Caoimhin Bonner and Ronan Doherty both starting replacing Jamie Dunne and Paul Smith dropping to the bench.
As for the visitors they were forced into a late change with Kyle Cherry replacing Eamon McAllister, who picked up an injury in the warm-up.
Just before kick-off the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium fell silent as a minutes silence was held in memory of journalist Lyra McKee, who was tragically murdered, in Creggan, on Thursday night.
Ards thought they had taken an early lead through McLellan, but his effort was ruled out, after Cherry was flagged offside for his volley, which came back off the bar.
Institute's best move in the first half came on 40 minutes as Stephen Curry’s cross from the right found Joe McCready, but his header was gathered by Ards keeper Samuel Johnston.
Ards had a good chance a minute later as McLellan broke free inside the ’Stute box, but his shot from a tight angle, hit the side netting.
Right on the stroke of half-time a clever cross by McCready from the left found Stephen Curry, who laid the ball off to Ronan Wilson, but the midfielder’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by Johnston.
The bottom side took the lead on 55 minutes as McLellan’s 35 yard free-kick fizzed past 'Stute keeper Marty Gallagher and flew into the keeper’s top right hand corner.
Ards should have increased their lead on 66 minutes as Gareth Tommons and McLellan played a neat one-two, but the ex-Limavady United man, with only Gallagher to beat, blasted well wide from 12 yards.
The woodwork came to Institute’s rescue on 75 minutes as Eamon McAllister’s left wing corner found Damien McNulty, the centre-back’s powerful header came back off the woodwork and Tommons’ follow-up header, had to be cleared off the line by Doherty.
In the closing minutes the visitors would have had a few chances on the counter attack, but their final ball let them down, however it didn't matter as McLellan's stunner was enough for the all important win.
Institute: Gallagher, Morrow, Bonner, D Curry, McLaughlin; McBride, Doherty, Jarvis (Smith HT); WIlson (J Morrow 52), McCready (Brown 73), S Curry.
Ards: Johnston, Kerr, E McAllister, Byers, McLellan (M Kelly 73), Cherrie, J Kelly, Tommons, McClean, McCawl, McNulty.
Referee: Mr Tim Marshall (Irvinestown).