Teggart at the double as Ballymena united return to summit
Ballymena United 2-1 Institute
Alan Teggart was the hero for Ballymena United as his two goals sent the Braidmen back to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership at the Showgrounds last night.
The Ballymena man struck a goal in each half to overturn Stephen O'Flynn's early goal, but the hosts were grateful for some poor finishing from the visitors as they hung on for all three points.
It was the dream start for Stute as they opened the scoring after just 90 seconds.
Jordan Armstrong received the ball on the left wing and picked out a clever pass for Darren McFadden, in acres of space on the edge of the Ballymena penalty area.
McFadden had one thought in mind as he raced into the area and sent a shot arrowing across goal. Dwayne Nelson did brilliantly to parry the shot but the goalkeeper's luck was out as O'Flynn followed up to knock in his fourth goal of the season from just a yard out.
Stute's resistance only lasted until the 26th minute, as winger Teggart picked up a loose header from Paddy McLaughlin 25 yards from goal.
He could have gone for goal immediately, but he skipped past Stephen Curry before sending a sensational effort flying past Eugene Ferry and into the top corner to make it 1-1, with the Braidmen's first shot on target.
Stute should have restored their lead immediately when their pull-back corner routine found O'Flynn in space on the edge of the area, but with the whole goal to aim at, the striker got underneath the ball and sent his shot well over the Ballymena crossbar.
Stute were inviting considerable pressure upon themselves as they continuously squandered possession in midfield and it seemed just a matter of time before Ballymena would take the lead, such was their dominance.
But Ballymena were vulnerable defensively and when Mark Forker swung over Stute's second corner on 40 minutes, Nelson came out of his goal and challenged Darren McFadden, but unconvincingly.
As a result, the ball bounced around in the penalty area and when it arrived with McLaughlin, he flashed a shot just wide of the goal, much to the relief of the Ballymena goalkeeper.
Stute were holding their own until midway through the second half when Ballymena were awarded a penalty when Curry impeded full-back Stephen McBride.
Stute players were adamant that the offence had taken place outside the penalty area but referee Keith Kennedy was unmoved and Teggart stepped up to fire the ball low to Ferry's left to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
The visitors should have levelled with 12 minutes remaining when substitute Ben Doherty won the ball on the halfway line and played the perfect through ball to put McFadden through on goal.
Nelson hesitated on the edge of his area and McFadden raced through, but rather than take the ball around the goalkeeper, he shot straight into Nelson's chest and the chance was gone.
Robbie Hume then had a chance for Stute but he was denied by Nelson in the dying stages of the game and the Sky Blues held on for the victory.