Institute produced a fantastic all round display to secure a 6-1 win and easily see off fellow promotion hopeful Larne, on Saturday.
The Waterside men showed good character after falling behind to a second minute penalty and in Michael McCrudden they had a midfielder who seems to be getting back to his best.
The Gobnascale man netted a hat-trick but his overall display meant he just shaded Darren McCauley from picking up the man of the match accolade.
Larne were rightfully awarded a penalty on two minutes after some terrible defending.
Stephen O’Donnell initially slipped when trying to clear his lines 25 yards from his own goal, that in turn let Paul Maguire in and he was clipped inside the box by Gary Henderson, the resulting spot-kick by Robbie White flew high into Michael Doherty’s top left hand corner.
Institute had a golden chance to level things on ten minutes, but Graham Crown’s touch inside the box was too heavy and Larne keeper Dylan McRandal denied him, after Stephen Parkhouse’s defensive splitting pass had created the clear-cut opening.
The home side levelled things in super fashion when Parkhouse’s right wing centre found Stephen O’Flynn at the back post and his knock down found Michael McCrudden who gleefully headed home.
Minutes later O’Flynn went close to giving the home side the lead but his super long range drive was kept out by a full stretched McRandal.
Institute did get in front on 23 minutes thanks to Parkhouse’s close range header, after McRandal had initially tipped McCauley’s 25 yard pile driver onto the bar.
Parkhouse went close to adding a third on 37 minutes but his first effort, after he nipped just in front of McRandal, was cleared off the line by William Wharry and his follow-up shot, while on the ground, flashed just wide.
The Waterside men added a fantastic third goal on 44 minutes when following a tremendous passing movement, which involved 12 passes ended with Aaron Walsh’s delightful right wing centre finding an unmarked McCrudden who powerfully headed home giving McRandal no chance.
Institute incredibly added a fourth right on the stroke of half-time when McCrudden’s left wing centre found Parkhouse, his header back across goal found O’Flynn who bundled the ball home from close range.
McCrudden completed his hat-trick in 65 minutes in super fashion when O’Flynn fed the midfielder who in turn found Darren McCauley and his first time pass released the Waterside man, who gleefully side footed home past McRandal.
Institute added a sixth on 67 minutes when O’Flynn volleyed home past the despairing dive of McRandal, after McCrudden’s left wing cross had found the front-man totally unmarked in the six yard box.
Moments later a McCrudden cross from the left found centre-back Stephen O’Donnell at the back post, but his glancing header, which had McRandal beaten, hit the wood work.
Right at the death following another flowing move Institute should have added a seventh, but Robbie Hume side footed wide at the near post after fellow substitute Stephen Curry had picked him out with a low centre.
Institute: Doherty, Crown, P McLaughlin, O’Donnell, C McLaughlin; McCauley, Walsh, Henderson; McCrudden, Parkhouse, O’Flynn. Subs: McKeever for Walsh (71); Curry for O’Flynn (75); Hume for McCauley (84); Varma & Gallagher (not used).
Larne: McRandal, Todd, Black, Wharry, Rodgers, N McAllister, Picking, King, Maguire, White, J McAllister. Subs: Duffin & Gillan for J McAllister & Picking (H-T); Crawford for Rodgers (55).
Referee: Mr Wesley Campbell (Augher).
Cautioned: Picking (29); N McAllister (79); Crown (80); O’Donnell (83).