It was a case of so near and yet so far for Institute against Glentoran as they banished memories of Friday night’s defeat at Limavady. Indeed, the Glens needed an injury time equaliser to take the game into extra time and, eventually, penalties.
The Belfast side started the match strongly and took the lead midway through the first half when former Northern Ireland international Stuart Elliott fired into the far corner of Marty Gallagher’s goal from an acute angle. Stute improved from that point and finished the half strongly.
Glentoran began the second half well, and it was against the run of play that Stute grabbed the equaliser. Stephen Parkhouse nodded the ball down for Darren McCauley to lash the ball past Elliott Morris via the underside of the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Parkhouse was involved again a few moments later when Stute took the lead. He flicked on Paddy McLaughlin’s clearance to Joe McCready who played the ball in for Michael McCrudden to hook past Morris in the Glentoran goal.
Ricky-Lee Dougherty had a few chances to seal the win but it was sustained Glentoran pressure from then on and Marcus Kane flicked in a deserved equaliser deep in injury time.
There were no goals in extra-time and the match was decided by a penalty shoot-out. Dean Jarvis chipped the ball over the crossbar and Aaron Walsh’s effort was saved by Morris, allowing Jay Magee to score the decisive penalty for Glentoran.
All in all, a brave effort by the Stute players, who can hold their heads up high tonight.
Report by Stephen Hamilton
Photos: ‘Stute Captain Paddy McLaughlin receiving the Sponsored Match Ball from John Johnston & the featured image is the mascots, kids from the mini soccer held on a Friday night at St Columbs park between 7 and 8 pm.