Three and easy for Cliftonville against sorry Institute

Cliftonville's Ruaidhri Donnelly puts Institute defender Shaun Leppard under pressure.
Cliftonville's Ruaidhri Donnelly puts Institute defender Shaun Leppard under pressure.

Institute 0 Cliftonville 3

Cliftonville eased to their fifth win in a row thanks to Conor McMenamin's brace and Joe Gormley's 198th goal for the club, meant they easily seen off a disappointing Institute side.

Paddy McLaughlin marked his return to the Brandywell with his team producing a near perfect display, as they never really got out of second gear and still ran out comfortable winners.

For Sean Connor's side, they were very disappointing and at times were chasing shadows, as they never really tested Reds keeper Richard Brush throughout the 90 minutes.

The home side were forced into making two changes to their side which drew with Ballymena United a few weeks ago, in came young centre-back Shaun Leppard and Colm McLaughlin, as captain Dean Curry and Comrac Burke both missed out through injury.

Having secured a battling win over Larne in their last league outing, Cliftonville's Ryan Curran was rewarded for firing home the winner last weekend, with a place in the starting line-up at the expense of Liam Bagnall, who dropped to the bench.

The Belfast men really should have had the game killed off in the first half, as they dominated things for long periods and missed a host of clear cut chances.

Cliftonville should have taken an early lead after Ronan Doherty's quick free-kick found Gormley, who in turn fed Ruaidhri Donnelly, but the striker's close range effort, which had beaten the out-rushing 'Stute keeper Rory Brown, trickled just wide.

The visitors went in front on eight minutes as Doherty's left-wing corner picked out Ruaidhri Donnelly, who picked out McMenamin and the winger took a touch before side footing home from 10 yards.

Ruaidhri Donnelly should have doubled Cliftonville's lead on 22 minutes as Doherty burst through from midfield before setting up the striker, but he was denied by a smart save by Brown.

Ten minutes later left-back Aaron Donnelly saw his inch perfect centre into the six yard box, find Curran, but the Derry man failed to trouble Brown and his strike flew wide.

Cliftonville keeper Brush was called into action on 36 minutes as he comfortable tipped over Shane McNamee's 30 yard dipping free-kick.

From the resulting corner McMenamin burst away on the counter attack, but after racing clear of Graham Crown, his left footed strike was saved by a diving Brown.

Early in the second half McMenamin, who signed a two year contract extension recently, netted his second of the game in sublime fashion, as his 25 yard curling free-kick, flew into Brown's top right hand corner, giving the 'Stute keeper no chance.

McMenamin went close to completing his hat-trick on 64 minutes as Doherty's deep cross to the right picked out the winger, but his first time volley was kept out by Brown.

Another slick passing move by the visitors ended with Aaron Donnelly's left wing cross found his namesake Ruaidhri, but the striker's side footed shot was saved by the 'Stute net-minder.

A stunning pass over the top by Conor McDermott released Gormley, who ghosted in behind Caoimhin Bonner, before calmly lifting the ball over the out-rushing Brown, to notch up his 198th goal on his 300th appearance for the Reds.

With the last kick of the game McMenamin was inches away from scoring his third, but his curling 20 yard free-kick was superbly parried away by a diving Brown.

Institute: Brown, Crown, Bonner, Leppard, C McLaughlin; McNamee (McIntyre 70), McCauley, Tourish, Brown; McCready (B McLaughlin 82), McGurk (Bradley 64).

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Breen, Harney (Gorman 77), A Donnelly; C Curran, Doherty, R Curran (McKee 82), McMenamin, Gormley (Maguire 87), R Donnelly.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge).