Institute’s first home fixture of the season took place this weekend, with Paul Kee’s men hosting NIFL Championship 2 side Glebe Rangers at the Riverside Stadium – while a second team led by assistant manager John Cunningham headed up to face-off against Portstewart, as the Institute squad was again divided in order to play two “parallel friendlies” – both ties finishing in respective 6-0 and 5-2 thrashings of their opponents.
Consecutive goals from Darren McCauley and Stephen O’Flynn ensured an early 2-0 advantage for Stute which they held until the half-time break, and then a series of good link-up moves between Lee Toland and Darren McFadden in the beginning of the second phase allowed for O’Flynn and McCauley to each claim braces, McFadden assisting each.
The final two goals of the Glebe encounter were the most spectacular however, as firstly midfielder Dwayne McManus blasted in from outside the box, the ball floating into the top, right corner of the goal, before former Newbuildings United winger Steven Curry fired another audacious far-range strike at goal, as the ball bounced in off the crossbar, sealing the scoreboard at 6-0.
Meanwhile, the second fixture of the weekend for the Sky Blue’s proved to be almost equally successful – goals from Dean Curry, Jamie McIntyre, Ben Doherty, and two from Robbie Hume putting Stute into a great position, as Portstewart were able to claim nothing more than a minor consolation with two finishes past goalkeeper Michael Doherty, the side returning to Londonderry with a 5-2 victory.
Speaking after the Glebe match, Vice Chairman Trevor Hewitt had the following to say on his side’s first home match of the preseason:
“Happy with the performance today, and the squad is looking strong with a couple of new additions to it, the players playing today did their club proud.”
“ The ground is looking well, big credit to all the bodies involved in getting it ready, with special mention to Arthur Hiscox for all his hard work
“Paul and the coaches have worked the squad over preseason, and now hopefully this will inspire a successful season in the Premiership for us.”
Next up on the timetable at the Riverside Stadium, Rangers and Armagh meet in the Milk Cup at 7pm on Monday night.