The first-team earned a well-fought draw against NIFL Premiership giants Linfield as the Sky Blues continued their great start to the season on Saturday – an 86th minute header from captain Paddy McLaughlin ruling out Ivan Sproule’s first-half opener to leave the game level after ninety minutes.
The visitors dominated the opening phase, piling the pressure on the Institute defence, with Graham Crown and Mark Scoltock holding out well at the back, while outgoing goalkeeper Michael Doherty made a handful of great saves to keep Stute’s hopes alive – however, Linfield managed to head into the break 1-0 in front courtesy of a goal from Ivan Sproule on the back of an assist from Stephen Lowry on 26 minutes.
Heading into the second period Institute immediately appeared re-energised, and quickly created a series of chances, with frustrated player-manager Warren Feeney deciding to bring himself on in order to see out the victory.
As the final ten minutes ticked on, it seemed that Linfield would leave with the win despite the advances of Stute, as their defence dealt with threat after threat, but on 86 minutes a free kick was won on the edge of the box, and young Ben Doherty took it, floating a cross toward the back post, picking out captain Paddy McLaughlin who meet it perfectly with his head to dip Jonathan Tuffey and to level the scoreline for his team.
Overall, the match turnout was once again fantastic as the stands at all ends were packed with supporters from both Institute and Linfield, and the club committee would like to thank everyone who attended the game.
Institute: Michael Doherty, Graham Crown, Paddy McLaughlin, Mark Scoltock, Stephen Curry, Declan McKeever (Ben Doherty 74’), Dwayne McManus, Mark Forker (Cormac Burke 39’), Aaron Walsh, Darren McCauley (Thomas McBride 74’), Stephen O’Flynn
Linfield: Jonathan Tuffey, Jamie Richards, Chris Hegarty, Mark Haughey, Jimmy Callagher (Seanan Clucas 75’), Stephen Lowry, Peter Thompson (Warren Feeney 67’), Kirk Miller, Aaron Burns, Matthew Clarke, Ivan Sproule
Referee: Colin Burns