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Institute 1-2 Ballymena United

By Paul Alexander

Ballymena United secured a 2-1 win against Institute in the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday afternoon as interim manager Kevin Doherty took charge of the hosts for the first time.

The first goal under Doherty’s stewardship almost came after just two minutes when Joseph McCready’s shot from the edge of the 18-yard box dipped over. Stephen McCullough opened the scoring for United with an unusual goal in the 17th minute. Stute goalkeeper Martin Gallagher lost the wing back’s corner-kick in mid-air before the ball went in off the back post.

McCready tried to respond through a promising opening but his strike was blocked by James Knowles in the penalty area. At the opposite end, the Braidmen came close to creating a two-goal cushion for themselves. Knowles’ corner was headed back across by Kofi Balmer. Cathair Friel then nodded the ball towards Jonny Addis whose header was held by Gallagher.

Institute continued to threaten with almost half an hour played. Stephen Curry crossed for Thomas McBride who headed onto the roof of the net. The away side had a further opportunity in first-half stoppage time. Jude Winchester’s ball in from the left was palmed out by Gallagher, however the rebound was too close for the on-rushing Andrew McGrory.

Ballymena would double their lead with a spot-kick two minutes after the restart. Referee Tim Marshall awarded the penalty following a foul by Colm McLaughlin on Adam Lecky. United striker Friel sent Gallagher to the right and finished into the left side of the net for his 12thleague goal of the campaign.

Although the hosts ensured that the match remained a contest when Stephen Curry produced a strong volley seven minutes after. Prior to it, Institute’s McCready had a shot from outside the area deflected wide for a corner. McCready received and returned the ball to Ronan Doherty who supplied Curry at the far post.

The Sky Blues were refused a third goal either side of the hour mark. First, the near post denied Winchester who tried to chip Gallagher from a tight angle on the right. Gallagher, himself, then stopped Balmer’s shot from distance finding the bottom left corner. Shortly after, Ballymena keeper Ross Glendinning was forced to direct a McCready free-kick wide for a corner.

Winchester had another chance on 75 minutes but his shot was blocked by stopper Gallagher. McCullough delivered the resulting corner from the left which was guided over by Leroy Millar. McCullough had an opportunity of his own in the form a free-kick which hit the crossbar with four minutes remaining.

Institute: Gallagher, Dunne, McLaughlin, D. Curry, Jarvis, R. Morrow (Smith, 76), R. Doherty, Wilson, McBride (J. Morrow, 81), McCready, S. Curry (Moorehead, 84)

Subs not used: C. Doherty, Brown, McIntyre

Ballymena United: Glendinning, McCullough, Addis, Ervin, Balmer, McGrory, Millar, Knowles (Harpur, 73) (Faulkner, 88), Winchester (Kane, 82), Friel, Lecky

Subs not used: Williamson, Quigley, Whiteside, Shevlin

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)

In-Touch Man of the Match: Stephen McCullough (Ballymena)

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