Ballinamallard leave Institute teetering on the brink
Ballinamallard U 2-0 Institute
A second-half Jason McCartney double edged Ballinamallard United ever closer to safety and pushed Institute a step nearer the trapdoor as the home side secured a 2-0 win at Ferney Park last night.
The result wrapped up a good Easter period for Whitey Anderson's Mallards as they made it back to back wins following on from Saturday's victory over Dungannon Swifts.
And it moves them seven points clear of second from bottom Warrenpoint Town with three matches to go, while Stute's cause looks forlorn as they remain eight points adrift at the foot of the table with games quickly running out.
The visitors were the brighter side throughout the opening 45 minutes though and Anderson's side had goalkeeper Stefan McCusker to thank for going in level at the break.
Stute were neat and tidy from the off and it took a cracking save with his feet from McCusker to deny Ben Doherty whose effort from the angle was heading to the back of then net until the goalkeeper's intervention.
The Mallards' netminder also denied Robbie Hume twice over the course of the half, getting a strong hand to his drive on the half hour and then doing well to push away Hume's swerving free kick on the stroke of half time.
The home side in comparison were slow to settle into the contest but they did pose a big threat from set pieces.
Their first opportunity arrived in the 22nd minute when Johnny Lafferty knocked down a Cathal Beacom free kick into the path of Liam Martin but his shot was blocked before Corey Wilson in the Institute goal gathered. Wilson was then called on to save from McMenamin's header.
Ballinamallard were a different proposition after the break, beginning the second half with much greater urgency to their play and within five minutes of the restart they had made the breakthrough.
Liam Martin's attempt at a shot fell to McCartney and he made no mistake in slotting home from close range.
The home side took control of proceedings after this and substitute Ryan Campbell twice went close before McCartney doubled the home side's advantage in the 73rd minute. He got on the end of Lafferty flick on to lash a fierce drive beyond Wilson to make it 2-0.
The Mallards continued to push forward as the game drew to a close and Campbell had a shot that fizzed past the post while Steve Feeney met a McCartney cross from the left with a diving header that flew just wide as they sealed another big win in the battle for survival.
Ballinamallard United: McCusker, McMenamin, Stafford, Kee, Martin, Lafferty, McCartney, McKenna, Beacom, Crilly, C McLaughlin. Substitutions: Campbell (Martin, 62 mins), Feeney (Kee, 84 mins).
Institute: Wilson, P McLaughlin, Curry, Crown, Doherty, Young, Forker, McManus (Curry 71mins), McCrudden, Hume, Walsh. Substitutions: Burke (Walsh, 71 mins).
Man of the match: Jason McCartney
Match rating: 6/10
Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)