Institute fell to an unlucky 1-0 defeat at home to Warren Feeney’s Linfield today after Aaron Burns opened the scoring on 41 minutes.
It was always going to be a difficult tie for the Drumahoe men who have been struggling to find form over the past few months.
However, it initially appeared that the home team might take something from the encounter after beginning lively.
The first-half was quiet, despite a few minor chances from each side, until Aaron Burns nodded home a header – his 17th goal of the season – after being supplied with a pinpoint cross from Ross Clarke.
The first phase concluded with the visitors holding the lead – only a goal separating the two teams.
HT: Institute 0-1 Linfield
The second half played host to little action, neither team looking particularly threatening.
The Blues picked up some momentum and appeared certain to grab a goal, but they were unable to capitalise on their brief period in the driving seat.
In turn, ‘Stute had their own spell of dominance, but key passes went astray and they lacked substance up top.
Late on Waterworth had a great chance to double the scoreline for Linfield after breaking through the ‘Stute defence, but he dragged his shot wide of Marty Gallagher’s left post.
Institute: Marty Gallagher, Graeme Crown, Dean Curry (70′), Paddy McLaughlin, Mark Scoltock (HT), Aaron Walsh, Mark Forker, Duwayne McManus, Robbie Hume, Jordan Armstrong (67′), Michael McCrudden.
Subs: Matty Young, Stephen O’Donnell (HT), Declan McKeever (70′), Cormac Burke (67′), Stephen Curry.
Linfield: Jonathan Tuffey, Glen Belezika (70′), Jimmy Callacher, Andrew Waterworth, Stephen Lowry, Aaron Burns, Sean Ward, Matthew Clarke, Sammy Morrow (82′), Jamie Mulgrew, Ross Clarke.
Subs: Ross Glendinning, Michael Carvill, Kirk Millar, Rodney Brown (82′), Niall Quinn (70′)