When Portadown re-surfaced from the unchartered depths of the Championship, manager Ronnie McFall said it would take a season or two before they challenged again for honours in the Premiership.
On the evidence of this game — and the season so far with two points from four matches — his assessment wasn’t far off the mark.
After this dull scoreless draw at Shamrock Park, McFall remarked: “We still need three or four players to get back on track in the higher league.
“But we lost around £100,000 revenue last year and the cash simply isn’t there.”
The Ports were sound in defence, weak in midfield and lacking up front against a well-drilled, determined Institute whose manager John Gregg — using the fingers of both hands — counted eight first team regulars out with injury.
“We had no option but to play it defensively and I’m delighted with a point from Shamrock Park,” he said.
“Portadown have the talent and will find their feet once they register a win or two.”
Institute’s Mark Scoltock said: “It was tough going. We came to defend and ge something from the match, and we did that. But it wasn’t the greatest match I’ve ever played in.
“Portadown could have won it in the first-half, but they squandered a couple of chances and that gave us plenty of heart and we held onto the end.”
The Ports have only themselves to blame for not gaining all three points, especially in the first-half when new man Neil Teggart missed a couple of sitters.
The first was on 19 minutes when Kevin Braniff forced a super save from Institute keeper Gavin Cullen, the ball broke to Teggart via Wesley Boyle and he skied it over from six yards.
Six minutes later, he was slow to shoot when the chance presented itself and left-back Graham Crown to make super tackle.
On either side of those misses, Austin Friel forced a one-handed save from David Miskelly at the other end and Paul Brown slammed one just a couple of feet wide.
Both sides used all three substitutes in the second-half, but the game deteriorated even more, with Institute shutting up shop, and neither side looked like breaking the deadlock.