Institute’s second visit to East Belfast in three weeks saw them record their first victory in a month and get in some much-needed shooting practice after some prolonged stuttering in the league and last week’s Irish Cup exit.
It was back to basics at a wind — and rain —swept Aircraft Park, with £2 admission and regular Stute stopper Michael Doherty ‘rested’ by being given a flag and asked to run the line. Michael McCrudden returned from his automatic one-game suspension, with Darren McCauley suspended. Thankfully that’s the last game McCauley will miss but McCrudden will likely be sitting out a couple more.
Despite not having his shooting boots on for his substitute appearance against Distillery, Robbie Hume started on the right wing. Last week’s penalty villains Tom Carlin and Declan McKeever started on the bench, along with O’Donnell and Varma.
Shorts looked a strong physical side — and they needed to be as the visitors started with Parkhouse and McFadden up front. Indeed it was Parkhouse who got the show on the road with a couple of minutes on the clock, cleverly flicking the ball over both his own head and the keeper, after receiving it in the left hand side of the box with his back to goal.
Stute’s lead didn’t even last five minutes however as a mix-up between Paddy McLaughlin and Marty Gallacher saw Stute’s stand-in keeper come haring out but get nowhere near the captain’s backpass, handing the home side an equaliser on a plate.
Stute were playing with the wind but perhaps not adapting to the conditions particularly well. However with 23 minutes on the clock Matty Crossan showed how it was done by arriving up from centre back to just outside the opposition box, before rifling home a shot from 20 yards into the corner of the net.
Hume should have made it 3-1 just after the half hour mark following a great run and cross by Colm McLaughlin down the left, but he failed to connect when well placed. McFadden then nearly got off the mark but headed just wide. On the stroke of half-time, Parkhouse gave Stute a cushion when a bobbling ball broke to him just outside the box and he smashed it home.
The holders’ comfortable lead began to turn into a rout early in the second half with first McFadden and then McCrudden scoring from close range. Crossan then had a header ruled out before McFadden made it 6-1 after a cutback from Devlin took the keeper out of the game.
Soon it was 7, when a corner from Robbie Hume on the right appeared to go straight in off the far post, but apparently Crossan got a touch to double his personal tally.
Marty Gallacher wasn’t a total spectator at the other end and in particular did well to prevent a Shorts striker scoring when he was put through one-on one. At this stage Paul Kee decided to rest Paddy and McFadden, who were replaced by Stephen O’Donnell and Tom Carlin. And it was Carlin who had the last say, putting his misses last week behind him with a long range effort to make it 8-1 and seal the rout, minutes after Hume had hit the woodwork. All that remained was for McCrudden to flash a free kick just wide before the full time whistle blew.
So although it was yet another distraction from the league, in this case that may have been no bad thing. Stute will be happy with a job well done, and the rediscovery of their scoring touch.
INSTITUTE: Gallacher, Devlin, P McLaughlin (O’Donnell), Crossan, C McLaughlin, Hume, Henderson (McKeever), Reilly, McCrudden, Parkhouse, McFadden (Carlin).
Subs not used: Varma, Doherty.
Report courtesy of supporter Steve Steele.