Belfast Telegraph

Inst must be ruthless in title battle: Robinson


Pressure on: Instonians’ Phil Hamill (right) and Newry’s John Taylor clash at Shaw’s Bridge
Pressure on: Instonians’ Phil Hamill (right) and Newry’s John Taylor clash at Shaw’s Bridge

By John Flack

William Robinson insists his Instonians team must display a more clinical touch in front of goal if they are to hold onto the Ulster Premier League trophy following their 3-1 win over Newry Olympic at Shaw's Bridge on Saturday.

The defending champions left it late before sealing the victory over the battling border team, with Ross Kelly's insurance goal coming with the last play of the game.

Instonians are a point ahead of Kilkeel and North Down at the summit but the former have played two games fewer.

Ominously, Cookstown are just four points off the pace but have the benefit of three games in hand over Inst ahead of the teams' crucial showdown in Belfast on Saturday.

The Tyrone side have been averaging six goals a game to date and, at the weekend, went two better when they crushed Portadown 8-0 at Steelweld Park.

In addition, Cookstown have yet to concede a goal, having been relegated from the EY Irish Hockey League last season, hence Inst captain Robinson's concern.

He said: "We were happy to have got the win on Saturday but we should have put the game to bed much earlier and missed far too many chances.

"We mightn't get so many opportunities against Cookstown, whose defensive record speaks for itself, so we will have to be more clinical if we are to have a chance of ending their run."

Robinson, last season's Ulster Premier leading scorer and player of the year, scored one of the goals and set up the other two on Saturday, with all four coming from penalty corners, including Newry's second-half equaliser.

Robinson broke the deadlock in the ninth minute when he fired home a set-piece after Instonians had dominated the early exchanges, missing a few other chances before gaining the advantage.

Newry looked threatening on the counter-attack and home keeper Sam Brown had to be at his best to stop Andrew Baird's set-piece in the 28th minute.

At the other end, Spencer Pinion almost grabbed an opportunist goal for Inst after a quickly-taken free but Josh Porter got down well to save.

Play continued to swing from end to end and after Andrew Corry had twice gone close for Inst, Newry grabbed the equaliser in the 48th minute.

John Taylor's penalty corner flew high into the net past Brown but Newry's joy was short-lived as Kelly squeezed the ball home from a narrow angle five minutes later to make it 2-1.

Robinson had a corner taken off the line by Jeremy Greer with four minutes left before the Inst skipper set up Kelly for his second, which was a carbon copy of his first.

Cookstown kept up their 100% record as Stuart Smyth scored four of the goals in their big win over Portadown.

Kilkeel beat Mossley 7-3 while there were also wins for Queen's, North Down and South Antrim.

The Students made it six points from their last two games with a 5-1 win over fellow strugglers Bangor.

The Seasiders and Ballynahinch - beaten 10-0 by South -have yet to register a point.

Results: Ulster Premier: Ballynahinch 0 South Antrim 10 (J Brown 3, C Henry 2, M Taylor 2, A Glass, P Maguire, S Hunter); Bangor 1 (M Armstrong-Sanchez) Queen's 5 (A Doyle 3, D Reid, P Campbell); Cookstown 8 (S Smyth 4, D Crooks 2, J Haycock, S Wylie) Portadown 0; Instonians 3 (W Robinson, R Kelly 2) Newry 1 (J Taylor); Kilkeel 7 (J Aiken, L Russell, W Annett, R Cunningham, E Agnew 2, G Niblock) Mossley 3 (J Robinson, F Mills, S Todd); North Down 6 (M Black, G McKeown, P Wilson, S Moore, R Davidson, P Templeton) Raphoe 3 (G Leckey, S Goudie, T Orr). Intermediate League: Belfast Harlequins 18 (C Lemon 6, S McGrath 3, A McKeown 3, M Patterson 2, M Gray 2, A Tweed, C Gardiner) Down 0; CI 3 (T McClintock, D Hurley, P McKane) Antrim 0; Civil Service 4 (R Anderson, C Barnes 2, A Hagen) Parkview 0.

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