Cliftonville 1-0 Institute
CLIFTONVILLE, thanks to Joe Gormley's 26th goal of the season, just about seen off Institute.
Reds manager Paddy McLaughlin watched the Belfast men get the better of his old club, in what was a disappointing affair at Solitude.
The victory was McLaughlin's fourth in five games and the clean-sheet was also the Reds' fourth, since the new manager's appointment and Cliftonville had goalkeeper Richard Brush to thank for the win, as he made a big save late to deny Joe McCready an equaliser.
The home side had half a chance on five minutes as a defensive mistake let in Chris Curran down the right, he cut the ball back for Gormley, but the striker's close range goal bound effort was superbly blocked by Aaron Jarvis.
As Stute started to get more and more into the game but they never threatened Brush and it was the home side who went close again on 20 minutes, as Conor McMenamin's cross field pass found Rory Donnelly, but his shot from the right hand side of the box, flew just over the bar.
Institute had strong claims for a penalty on 40 minutes after Jamie Harney seemed to bring down McCready inside the box, after the striker's super skill got him away from the defender, however referee Shane Andrews waved play-on, much to the ex-Coleraine man's frustration.
The home side went close right at the start of the second half, but Curran's drive from a tight angle, which Stute keeper Marty Gallagher had covered, hit the side netting.
Cliftonville did break the deadlock on 49 minutes in slick fashion, as Donnelly's clever back-heel found strike partner Gormley, who made no mistake firing home his first goal in six games.
After Gormley's goal the visitors started to come more and more into the game, but at no stage did they test Brush, as Jake Morrow and Stephen Curry's long range efforts were bravely blocked by Harney.
Just after the hour mark Cliftonville were inches away from adding a second but after getting away from Colm McLaughlin, Donnelly found some space inside the Stute box, but he dragged his shot just wide.
Seven minutes from time another Chris Curran cross from the right found Aaron Harkin, but the former Institute man saw his close range shot on the turn, rattle the bottom of Gallagher's left hand post.
Soon after Brush had his first shot which he had to save, but he easily gathered Jarvis' long range strike.
Institute should have levelled things on 87 minutes as substitute Callum Moorehead found McCready inside the box, the striker did well to side step away from Garry Breen, but his close range shot was blocked by Brush.
Cliftonville: Brush, Breen, Gorman, Harney; C Curran, Harkin, Bagnall, McMenamin; R Curran (Grace 70); Donnelly, Gormley (Catney 89).
Institute: Gallagher, R Morrow, D Curry, McLaughlin, Dunne; McIntyre (Moorehead 75), Wilson, Jarvis, J Morrow, S Curry (Smith 81); McCready.
Referee: Shane Andrews (Newtownards).