After a potentially season defining victory on Friday night, ‘Stute took on Carrick Rangers in their 4th game in eleven days in the first leg play-off for the Premier League. Kevin Deery had named an unnamed squad originally, however Stephen Curry pulled a calf muscle in the warm-up and was replaced by Gareth Brown; with the team hoping to reproduce their fighting spirit from Friday night.
The first half was dominated by ‘Stute. Throughout the half ‘Stute were the most dominant of the teams creating several chances. Stephen O’Donnell and Michael McCrudden came close in the opening half hour to putting ‘Stute ahead, with two very good efforts. Michael McCrudden was finally rewarded for his fantastic contribution over the previous two matches, when he poked the ball bottom corner after good play through the middle of the park. However, the opening goal was soon cancelled out, after Carrick Rangers converted a penalty less that two minutes later, and the first half finished one a piece.
The second half was a very entertaining, sadly undermined by very poor refereeing as well as poor sportsmanship by some on the opposition dugout. ‘Stute where fantastic and dominated the ball throughout and limited Carrick Rangers to long balls. The second half was full of opportunities for ‘Stute and unfortunately they where squandered. Carrick thought they had grabbed a late winner, however the linesman deemed it offside. Captain Stephen O’Donnell played seventy minutes in the middle of the park and put in an excellent shift. Mark Scoltock defended very well as did Dean Curry who has been playing his best football over the last three matches.
Full-time: Institute 1 vs. Carrick Rangers 1.
Report by Dylan Harvey