Institute’s fine league form took a major blow at Seaview on Saturday morning when they were on the wrong end of an 8-1 thumping by fourth placed Crusaders.
The writing was on the walls from as early as the sixth minute when a Crusaders attacker danced through the Stute defence but Gareth Muldoon saved well with his legs. The home side did break the deadlock in the 20th minute when Stute gave away possession inside their own half and whilst Muldoon saved the initial shot he failed to hold on to the ball and the rebound was turned home from close range. Three minutes later it was two after Muldoon fumbled a freekick and once again it was a Crusaders player who reacted quickest to convert the loose ball. The visitors did enjoy a spell of pressure with John Mallett appearing to be brought down in the box but the referee was unimpressed. Alex Pomeroy broke clear of the home defence on the half hour mark but his shot was too close to the keeper who saved easily. Crusaders increased their lead on 37 mins and once again it was as a result of poor defending as a forward easily turned Ethan Sweeney before firing into the roof of the net. At the other end fullback Cal Ryan tried his luck from distance but the home keeper produced a fine finger-tip save at full stretch. Four minutes before the break Stute did finally find the net as Mallett’s fine cross was headed home by Pomeroy and just before the half-time whistle débutante Ethan Curran headed over from a similar Shane Brennan delivery.
It was the visitors who began the second period on the front foot and within a minute of the restart Mallett had forced another fine save from the Crusaders keeper. The Drumahoe men pressed for a second goal but on the hour mark they were caught by a quick break as a Crusaders defender sprang the offside trap before forcing another save from Muldoon. The ball deflected high into the air but both ball and keeper were bundled into the net and despite Stute’s protests the goal was allowed to stand. To their credit Stute came back strongly again and they continued to put the home side under some pressure but another breakaway saw Muldoon easily beaten once more as Crusaders scored a fifth. Stute’s misery was only compounded as the home side racked up a further three goals in the final ten minutes making it a thoroughly miserable day for the joint league leaders.
The Colts will be looking to bounce back quickly from this performance as next week they once again take to the road, this time visiting East Belfast to take on their Glentoran counterparts.
Institute Colts: Gareth Muldoon, Aaron Jarvis, Cal Ryan, Jamie McLaughlin, Cathal Connolly, Ethan Sweeney, Caillin McLaughlin, Ethan Curran, Alex Pomeroy, Shane Brenna, John Mallett. Subs. Craig Holmes, Emmett O’Hara, Reece Adair, Conor McCourt, Matty Lynch.