In the battle of the country’s two in-form strikers at Seaview — David Rainey and Paul Brown — it was the former Glentoran man who struck the killer blow but it was Institute boss John Gregg who left cursing missed opportunities at the finish.
Stute threw everything at the Crues in the last 25 minutes of the game, including the proverbial kitchen sink, but the goal their adventure and aggressive approach deserved failed to materialise.
Rainey himself missed a golden opportunity after the break to net his second and an anxious finale followed as the home fans’ fingernails began to disappear. The hitman headed home his 11th goal of the season in the 26th minute after Stephen McBride's cross had been nodded across the penalty area by Alain Emerson but Gregg felt referee Trevor Moutray should have blown for a foul.
“I’m not saying it is easy to be a referee, I would hate to be one and they have got one of the hardest jobs in the world but Institute are seen as a small club and 90 percent of the decisions went against us,” he said.
Crues boss Stephen Baxter, who looked on in disbelief as Aaron Black’s header rebounded off both posts, refused to accept that the officials made glaring mistakes.
“I don’t think they have anything to complain about with regard to the physical side of the game,” he said. “You can talk about pushing and shoving but there was some poor tackles from them out there. But they might be disappointed not getting something out of the game.
“If it wasn’t for Chris Keenan, Eamon Doherty and Colin Coates we would not have secured the three points.
“We had to make a substitution and take off one of our best players (Martin Donnelly) because of their aerial power. We needed resolute and stout defending and Coates and David Magowan stood tall.”