Josh Robinson heads home Linfield's second goal (©INPHO/Brian Little)
Saturday, 16 March 2019
Two goals just after the hour helped Linfield defeat Institute at Windsor Park and restore their nine point lead at the top of the table.
Both sides had their chances during the opening spell with Jamie Dunne seeing an effort deflected wide while Andrew Waterworth and Daniel Kearns went close at the other end.
That pattern continued with Joe McCready being a threat for 'Stute after bursting through the defence only for a poor touch to let him down.
Then, for Linfield, Chris Casement saw a 34th minute bullet header saved by Martin Gallagher with the same player going even closer moments later with a free-kick against the crossbar.
The Blues thought they had taken the lead on 49 minutes when Jimmy Callacher found the net but this was ruled out offside, with Casement having a go with another free-kick a few minutes after that.
However, the deadlock was broken just after the hour in style when Jordan Stewart unleashed a terrific effort past Gallagher into the roof of the net.
And four minutes after that it was almost 2-0 only for Joel Cooper's lob to be cleared off the line by Caoimhin Bonner ... but number two did arrive moments later when Josh Robinson got his head to Niall Quinn's follow up corner from the right.
Stewart came close to adding a third towards the end when his shot from Marek Cervenka's pass was cleared while Ronan Wilson had a decent chance at grabbing a consolation for Institute only for his low strike to be saved by Gareth Deane.
Linfield: Deane, Robinson, Callacher, Waterworth, Cooper, Stewart, Kearns, Mulgrew, Mitchell, Quinn, Casement subs Mitchell (not used), Stafford (not used), O'Connor (replaced Waterworth 80), Clarke (replaced Cooper 71), McClean (not used), McGivern (not used), Cervenka (replaced Kearns 80)
Institute: Gallagher, R. Morrow, C. McLaughlin, Bonner, D. Curry, Dunne, S. Curry, J. Morrow, Jarvis, Wilson, McCready subs Moorehead (replaced S. Curry 82), Scoltock (not used), McIntyre (replaced Dunne 64), Kelly (not used), Smith (replaced J. Morrow 68), Leppard (not used), E. McLaughlin (not used)
Referee: Tony Clarke