Glentoran’s title challenge continued following a hard-fought 2-0 success at a bitterly cold Institute last night.
Goals in each half by Andy Waterworth and Kyle Neill were enough for the Belfast men to remain in top spot.
Institute, who were kitted out in a specially made pink strip in aid of cancer awareness, know themselves they had the chances to at least take a share of the spoils, but in truth defensive mistakes in the end cost them dear.
Stute missed a super chance to take an early lead but Kevin Ramsey headed wide after Declan Divin’s inch perfect centre had created the opportunity.
The visitors broke the deadlock after another goalkeeping error by Institute keeper Michael Doherty.
Kyle Neill’s right wing corner was misjudged-judged by Doherty and the grateful Waterworth made no mistake from close range.
Stute continued to push and were inches away from equalising in the 31st minute when Sean Roddy’s long range free-kick flashed just over James Taylor’s crossbar.
Institute continued to pile on the pressure and five minutes before the interval a well hit drive by Philip Lowry, had Taylor beaten, but flashed just wide.
Soon after, the Drumahoe men had strong claims for a penalty when Ruairi Boyle’s throw-in seemed to be punched away by Philip Simpson, but referee Trevor Moutray waved play-on.
The Glens were let off the hook again in stoppage time when Roddy’s corner wasn’t cleared but James Quigley’s shot from 12 yards, through a ruck of players was booted off the line by Neill.
Those missed chances before the break came back to haunt ’Stute as they fell a further goal behind right at the start of the second half.
Ruairi Boyle’s back pass while inside the six yard box in the 48th minute was incredibly picked up by Doherty and referee Moutray awarded an indirect free-kick.
With virtually every Institute player on the goal-line Neill deserves credit for cleverly blasting home the ball into Doherty’s bottom left hand corner for his third goal in two games.
Instead of letting their heads drop it was Institute who continued to push forward in search of that all important goal, which would have brought them back into the contest.
A poor Waterworth tackle on Quigley in the 53rd minute saw Roddy’s resulting free-kick from 20 yards, whistle just past Taylor’s right hand post.
Another set-piece in the 70th minute caused problems in the Glens box, this time Taylor did well to keep out Eamon Seydak’s left footed effort. Five minutes from time substitute Matty Burrows created a super chance for Gary Hamilton but the Northern Ireland international somehow missed from close range.
Institute: Doherty, Boyle, McLaughlin, Scoltock, Seydak; Roddy, Quigley, Lowry, Divin; Brown, Ramsey. Subs: Semple for Roddy (73); Mooney for Ramsey (83).
Glentoran: Taylor, McGovern, Leeman, Simpson, Black; Scullion, Fitzgerald, Carson, Neill; Waterworth, Halliday. Subs: Hamilton & Fordyce for Halliday & Scullion (75); Burrows for Waterworth (84).
Referee: Mr Trevor Moutray (Dundonald)