Mark McFadden in action for Institute against Ballinamallard. Pic by Tom Heaney, nwpresspics
Institute still wait for their first win of the season after being held to a draw by Ballinamallard at the Brandywell.
‘Stute led for the third game in succession after Matthew Walker’s debut goal, but Mark Stafford’s equaliser denied the home side in an entertaining end to end contest.
It was Ballinamallard who actually threatened first on 15 minutes when former Finn Harps striker BJ Banda came in from the right and set up Darragh Byrne on the edge of the area, but his low shot went past the post.
There was still plenty of encouragement for the hosts and from another Orrin McLaughlin corner, Cathair Friel got clear at the near post and his glancing header went right across goal and wide of the target.
Jamie McCormick then got in behind Peter Maguire, but he opted to take his shot early and sliced it badly wide. Nevertheless, it was encouraging for ‘Stute.
There were moments at either end for both teams in a very even game, but Friel almost gave the crowd something special just after the half hour when he got on the end of a headed clearance from Richard Clarke, and attempted a spectacular scissor kick from 20 yards which flew just over the bar.
A tight game was finally given lift-off on 57 minutes with a brilliantly worked goal from the home side. Captain Shaun Doherty did well to stop a Ballinamallard counter-attack and Ronan McAleer found himself in an advanced position on the edge of the area, finding Mark McFadden, who rolled it to the left for the incoming Matthew Walker to drill low between the legs of Michael Lynch and into the net.
That lead lasted just seven minutes however as ‘Stute caved to Ballinamallard’s first real period of pressure in the game, with Reece Byrne sliding the ball through the heart of the ‘Stute defence for Mark Stafford to run onto and slide the ball past Gareth Muldoon for the equaliser.
The home side were really pushing their opponents back, and the introduction of both Jamie Dunne and Andrew Whiteside only freshened the ‘Stute attack; the two combined to almost restore ‘Stute’s lead with Dunne’s free kick finding Whiteside, whose downward header was pushed behind.
In the midst of almost constant ‘Stute pressure, it required a vital block from Dylan King to deny Byrne on the break, just when it looked as if Ballinamallard would score a barely deserved second.
The three points were there for the taking and it was Ballinamallard who began to look more dangerous as time ran out, with Banda’s free kick finding Peter Maguire, whose header across goal was brilliantly saved by Muldoon before he was helped out by Walker who hooked the loose ball away.
‘Stute were then denied in the 90th minute when Rhys McDermott’s effort across goal was parried into the air and Friel’s rebound header was blocked on the line.
INSTITUTE: Gareth Muldoon, Ronan McAleer (Jamie Dunne 67’), Shaun Leppard, Rhys McDermott, Mark McFadden (Oisin Devlin 90’), Orrin McLaughlin (Andrew Whiteside 73’), Shaun Doherty, Matthew Walker (Darragh Kelly 90’), Dylan King, Jamie McCormick, Cathair Friel.
BALLINAMALLARD: Michael Lynch, Mark Stafford, Richard Clarke, Aaron Arkinson, Ronan McKinley (Ryan Morris 68’), BJ Banda, Darragh Byrne (Shaun McDermott 45’), Reece Byrne, Patrick Ferry (Stephen Drumm 61’), Peter Campbell (Joshua McIlwaine 45’), Peter Maguire.
REFEREE: Diarmuid Harrigan.
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