Institute secured the first piece of silverware of the season when they came from behind to defeat ten-man Moyola Park 3-1 in the North West Senior Cup final.
Second half goals tonight from Stephen O’Donnell, Aaron Walsh and David Healy ensured the Waterside men bounced back from Eugene Gallagher’s 17th minute header which had given the visitors the lead.
Paul Kee used the final to give quite a few squad players a chance in the starting line-up, but not for the time this season, their first half display wasn’t good enough.
The visitors had a good chance early on but Jason Paul’s close range header flew inches over Marty Gallagher’s crossbar.
Park deservedly took the lead on 17 minutes when Michael Walsh’s right wing corner was headed home by an unmarked Eugene Gallagher from close range.
Stute slowly started to come into the tie and they missed a glorious chance to level things just before the half-hour mark but Jamie McIntyre failed to hit the target with a header from six yards.
The visitors were reduced to ten men just before the break when Michael Walsh was shown a straight red card by referee Stephen Wallace after he elbowed young Jude Ballard.
Incredibly the visitors were inches away from doubling their lead on 44 minutes but Gallagher’s close range strike, which had Marty Gallagher beaten, was cleared off the line by Dean Curry.
Doherty almost made an instant impact but his right footed strike was tipped over by Park goalkeeper Marty Farniok.
Stute did level from the resulting corner on 58 minutes when Robbie Hume’s inswinging corner from the right found an unmarked Stephen O’Donnell who planted his header low into Farniok’s bottom right hand corner.
Institute took the lead on 70 minutes from the penalty spot after Conal Kilpatrick clearly handled the ball to block David Healy’s close range goal bound shot. Referee Wallace rightfully gave the penalty and Walsh made no mistake from 12 yards.
Right at the death Stute saw off the ten men when subtitute Healy made no mistake from close range.
They had a chance to add a fourth in stoppage time, but Farniok kept out Walsh’s spot-kick, after Hume was upended inside the box by Craig McAllister.
Institute: Gallagher, McIntyre (Doherty H-T), Toland, O’Donnell, Curry, Henderson, Burke (Varma 78), Walsh, McVeigh (Healy 62), Ballard, Hume. Moyola Park: Farniok, McAllister, Lucas, Kilpatrick, Waddell, Walsh, J Paul, Gallagher, Dowie, Larkin (D Paul 80), Walls (Hassan 71). Referee: Mr Stephen Wallace (Londonderry).