Mark McFadden scored two goals as Institute defeated Knockbreda at the weekend.
Knockbreda 2 . . . Institute FC 3
Institute made it successive league wins for the first time since September thanks to a late Benny McLaughlin winner at Knockbreda.
Following their thrilling 5-1 win over Annagh last week, Brian Donaghey's side again turned on the style at Breda Park, and would surely have won this game more comfortably had their finishing not let them down.
In the end that will matter little to Donaghey as his team picked up three massive points against a fellow relegation contender to move out of the bottom two for the first time in months. The win comes just before the split and 'Stute are finally hitting their best form of the season just when it matters the most.
'Stute started the game well and created the first of many chances on five minutes when a great break down the left by Ian Parkhill ended with the forward finding Mark McFadden, but with the goal at his mercy, the young midfielder saw his close range strike kept out by a diving Knockbreda goalkeeper Daniel Oates.
McFadden did however make amends on 11 minutes as he raced onto Gareth Brown's clever pass, before rifling home from just inside the box, giving Oates no chance.
It was almost 1-1 within seconds however as Garrett's close range strike, which had Muldoon beaten, came back off the post.
The home side did equalise on 14 minutes as Liam McKenna's strike was turned onto the post by Muldoon and as the ball rolled across the line, the grateful Max Greer was on hand to side foot home from close range.
'Stute responded well and could have retaken the lead when McLaughlin's inswinging corner found Conor Quigley, but the centre-back's header, which had Oates beaten, came crashing back off the crossbar.
Not to be deterred,'Stute regained the lead on 19 minutes as McFadden was in the right spot at the right time, as he side footed home from six yards after Oates could only parry away Parkhill's initial effort.
Right on the stroke of half-time McFadden should have completed his hat-trick, but his close range shot was saved by Oates. A goal then may have ended the game as a contest but the save set up a dominant second half from the home side.
Half Time 1-2
Knockbreda started the second half the better and deservedly drew level on 58 minutes after McLaughlin had lost possession in midfield, the home side countered well and Nathan Johnston, drilled the ball home from 12 yards.
'Stute then came under serious pressure and Muldoon had to make a top drawer save on 72 minutes as midfielder Dylan Sloan latched onto Garrett's pass, before seeing his powerful strike kept out by the out-rushing 'Stute keeper.
Institute themselves were inches away from regaining the lead minutes later but McFadden's snap-shot from 20 yards, whistled just past Oates' right hand post. The 'Stute man was fouled in the build up however and from the resulting free kick Jamie Dunne's resulting 25 yard free-kick came back off the crossbar and substitute Liam Walsh blazed the rebound over.
In a dramatic finale to the game, the home side were incensed with Shane McGonigle's decision not to award them a penalty, minutes before the end, as striker Stephen Garrett was taken out by 'Stute goalkeeper Gareth Muldoon, Breda were furious the spot-kick wasn't awarded for the challenge.
The goalkeeper hesitated coming out and he collided into Garrett just inside the box before Quigley got back to clear the ball off the line for a corner, while the home side's protests continued.
To make it even worse for Knockbreda, Donaghey's men scored what turned out to be the winner on 88 minutes as Shaun Doherty's clever pass on the edge of the area found McLaughlin just inside the box and he showed good composure by cutting in onto his left foot, before drilling home into Oates' bottom right hand corner for his 15th goal of the season.
Saturday 9th April- Ballyclare (H)
Saturday 16th April- Queens (H)
Tuesday 19th April- Ards (A)
Saturday 23rd April- Dundela (A)
Saturday 30th April- Knockbreda (H)
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.