Institute had to overturn a two-goal half time deficit before recording an impressive comeback victory over their Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown in this NIFL Youth League (A) game.
The game had begun well for the Drumahoe boys and they deservedly took an 8th minute lead after Matty Lynch had two efforts saved by the visiting ‘keeper defender Dylan Forbes popped up to bundle the ball home from close range. The visitors immediately responded as Stute failed to deal with a dangerous free-kick from the left and although ‘keeper Eoin Matthewson blocked an initial effort he was helpless as the ball fell to another Portadown player who was presented with the simplest of tap-ins. An identical delivery saw Portadown take the lead on 17 minutes. Matthewson felt he was impeded as he rose to claim a high ball but the ball spilled from his grasp and once again it was a player in red who reacted quickest to fire the ball into the net. Institute almost levelled midway through the half as Cal Ryan’s dangerous cross was glanced wide by Lynch. On the stroke of half-time, and against the run of play, the visitors added a third goal after an impressive run by their left-back. The defender, tracked by winger Shane Brennan, looked to have lost control of the ball on the edge of the Stute box but as Brennan and Forbes hesitated the Portadown player pounced to drive the ball beyond the reach of Matthewson’s outstretched hand.
Institute came storming back in the second period and their cause was aided by an early goal after striker Alex Pomeroy’s shot could only be parried by the Portadown ‘keeper and this time it was a Stute player, in the form of John Mallett, who was on hand to scramble the ball home with 50 minutes on the clock. The home side enjoyed the majority of possession as they pressed for an equaliser but they had to wait until the 72nd minute before they breached the Portadown defence again. This time it was a Brennan free-kick that caused problems for the Portadown defenders and the ball fell kindly for captain Cathal Connolly who steadied himself before placing his shot into the bottom corner of the net from 12 yards. Eight minutes from time Stute got their noses in front as Forbes strode out from defence before his perfectly timed through-ball set Aaron Jarvis in on goal and the full-back finished the move in some style. Institute wrapped up the scoring two minutes later as Brennan and Pomeroy combined before the big striker turned and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.
Institute: E Matthewson, A Jarvis, C Ryan, D Forbes, E Canning, C McLaughlin, S Brennan, C Connolly, A Pomeroy, J Mallett, M Lynch. Subs: J McLaughlin, K McGuinness, C Hill, C McCourt, R Adair.