Institute come from behind to see off Portstewart

Institute 2, Portstewart 1

Brian Donaghey, Institute Head Coach. Picture by George Sweeney
Brian Donaghey, Institute Head Coach. Picture by George Sweeney

Institute came from behind to see off Intermediate side Portstewart and book their place in the Eventsec North West Senior Cup semi-final.

Trailing to Lee Forgrave's early goal, 'Stute levelled just before the break thanks to Rhys McDermott's neat finish, before Shaun Leppard sealed the win in the closing stages, as the Drumahoe side's fitness in the end meant they deservedly the victory.

The visitors broke the deadlock on 10 minutes as they caught the home side out with a quick counter attack when left-back Jason-Lee McDermott broke clear down the wing before his clever clipped cross to the back post found fellow full-back Forgrave and the defender gleefully headed home from close range.

'Stute were inches away from levelling things on 23 minutes, but Brendan McLaughlin's 25 yard free-kick, which goalkeeper Andrew Finlay beaten, sailed just wide.

Minutes later another long ball over the top caught out 'Stute and after Scott McDonald won possession in front of goalkeeper John Connolly, who had rushed well outside his box, but the winger's first time effort hit the side netting.

Brian Donaghey's side levelled things right on the stroke of half-time as Liam Walsh's clever flick inside the penalty box found right-back McDermott, who coolly drilled the ball low past Findlay.

Just before the hour mark Joel Gorman raced into the Portstewart penalty box to latch onto McLaughlin's defence splitting pass, however his cut-back was inches away from the in-rushing Aidan McCauley.

Neither side created much in the opening quarter after the break, but on 73 minutes Portstewart's Joseph Morgan came up from the back to head over from close range, after Joel Bradley's right wing corner had picked him out at the near post.

Soon after the combination of crossbar and Findlay, denied 'Stute centre-back Leppard when he rose well at the back post to head McLaughlin's corner goalwards, but the effort was somehow kept out.

However the big defender wasn't to be denied from Gorman's resulting right wing corner, this time he made no mistake rising high to powerfully head home past Findlay.

On 83 minutes Portstewart had a good chance to equalise but substitute Eoin Gillan was unable to keep his close range effort down, after Connolly's punch had fallen kindly to him, some 12 yards from goal.

McLaughlin should have ended the tie as a contest on 90 minutes as Jamie Dunne's inch perfect pass released the striker, but with only Findlay to beat. the Donegal man's tame side footed effort from just inside the box, was straight at the keeper.

In the closing stages the home side had chances to add a third on the counter attack, but their final ball let them down, however Donaghey will be pleased that they secured their third win on the bounce.

Institute: John Connolly, Rhys McDermott (Oran Brogan 61), Shaun Leppard, Joel Bradley Walsh, Conor Quigley; Aidan McCauley, Joshua Busteed (Shaun Doherty 61), Joel Gorman; Jamie Dunne, Liam Walsh (Owen Logue 92), Brendan McLaughlin.

Portstewart: Andrew Finlay, Lee Forgrave (John Watt 52), Chandler Douglas, Joel Bradley, Ryan Doherty, Mark Edgar (Zach Barr 71), Scott McDonald (Eoin Gillan 63), Jason-Lee McDermott, Karl Steele, Joseph Morgan, Jake McNeill.

Referee: Diarmuid Harrigan.