Institute skipper Michael McCrudden bagged four goals (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)
Saturday, 22 December 2018
Institute came out on top after a ten-goal thriller with Cliftonville at the Brandywell, a game which produced two hat-tricks, a couple of penalties and a sending off.
'Stute moved in front after just three minutes when Michael McCrudden demonstrated a composed finish to turn home a Joe McCready lay-off.
Cliftonville levelled on 13 minutes through Rory Donnelly after he was allowed space from six yards to head a Liam Bagnall cross from the right past Martin Gallagher.
McCrudden edged Institute back into the lead just after the half-hour mark, controlling a Jake Morrow left-sided cross before coolly slotting the ball past Brian Neeson.
Then, ten minutes after that, McCready made it 3-1 with a stylish finish on the counter attack.
Donnelly doubled his tally on 48 minutes to reduce the deficit after rising highest to nod home Joe Gormley's looping cross.
Then, four minutes after that, the Reds were level again when Gormley connected with a Ryan Curran delivery to head past Gallagher.
Cliftonville were then presented with an opportunity to take the lead for the first time when Donnelly was upended in the box by Gallagher but, from the spot-kick that followed, he couldn't beat the keeper.
Straightaway Institute went on the attack and were awarded a penalty themselves after Neeson brought down Ronan Doherty. The Reds keeper was shown a straight red card for the challenge, and was replaced by Jamie Harney between the posts, but McCrudden stepped up to convert for his hat-trick.
The scoring continued on 67 minutes. McCrudden turned provider to roll the ball across the face of goal for McCready to grab his second of the afternoon.
And four minutes after that McCrudden bagged his fourth goal, a dinked finished past Harney from Doherty's assist.
Donnelly earned a hat-trick of his own with 13 minutes remaining from an acute angle but it was too late to spark another Cliftonville revival.
Institute: Gallagher, McLaughlin, D. Curry, Doherty, Dunne, A. Harkin, McCrudden, Scoltock, Morrow, Wilson, McCready subs S. Curry (replaced J. Morrow 86), Moorehead (replaced McCready 88), Brown (replaced Dunne 46), McIntyre (not used), N. Harkin (not used), McCallion (not used), Henderson (not used)
Cliftonville: Neeson, Ives, Breen, Harney, C. Curran, R. Curran, Garrett, R. Donnelly, McDonald, Bagnall, Gormley subs Harkin (not used), McConnell (not used), Maguire (not used), McMenamin (not used), A. Donnelly (not used), Casey (not used), McNulty (replaced R. Curran 73)
Referee: Lee Tavinder
|Liam Bagnall||90 +3|