Report: Andrew Morrison
Photo: Andy Scullion
Larne are through to the Bet McLean League Cup 3rd round after a 4-0 win against Limavady United at Inver Park.
Goals either side of half-time from Kofi Balmer, as well as second half strikes from John Herron and Thomas Oluwa, helped Larne see off a spirited Limavady outfit.
The home side had nothing to show for their early possession with little in terms of shots. The first half chance came from John Herron after eight minutes.
The midfielder found himself free just outside the edge of the penalty area after a throw-in down the left flank but his effort from range which just narrowly missed the target.
Shortly after the visitors had their first attempt of the game. A long ball down the line to Alex Pomeroy saw the forward pick the ball up just inside the Larne half and in a sprint with Graham Kelly. After getting the ball into the box the Limavady man managed to cut in and get a shot on target only for Argyrides to make a solid save on his first start for the club.
The Inver reds continued to create down their left as Graham Kelly found himself in an advanced position. The 23-year-old played a dangerous low cross towards the penalty spot where David McDaid looked to have found himself in a promising position only to mis-control the ball for a goal kick.
Midway through the first half there was a moment of concern for Albert Watson. After a coming together between himself and Pomeroy saw him require treatment and to be replaced by Kofi Balmer.
As the home side continued to pile on the pressure Jeff Hughes made a charging run from the halfway line before picking out McDaid whose shot was well saved.
Then from the resulting corner a moment of panic in the visiting defence saw the ball fall loose before coming off the woodwork.
In the closing stages of the first half Cosgrove found himself in space in the penalty area only for Wells to come out on top. However, from the resulting corner Lee Lynch put in a great delivery which was met by Kofi Balmer to put Larne 1-0 ahead.
Half Time: Larne 1-0 Limavady United
Ben Doherty came close to doubling the lead two minutes after the break. His free kick on the edge box went to the goalkeeper’s side and had him beaten only to hit the post.
Tempers began to flare in the 56th minute after an off the ball collision between Cosgrove and Dean Brown led to a scuffle between both sides resulting in a number of bookings, including Cosgrove and John Herron.
The next big chance of the game fell to David McDaid after a ball down the line from Jeff Hughes got the forward one on one with his man. After beating his man his chipped effort was once again saved by Wells.
However, the resulting corner led to the second goal. Initially cleared, the ball fell to Andrew Scott out right whose ball into the box found the leaping Herron to head home and double the lead after 63 minutes.
The Inver Reds scored a third just moments later. After attempting to play out from the back, Gareth McFadden was dispossessed by Andrew Scott with the ball then squared to substitute Thomas Oluwa for a tap in.
It was soon 4-0 as Kofi Balmer scored his second of the evening after another Lee Lynch’s corner found the centre half at the penalty spot for a towering header.
Despite the positive display there was another injury concern for Manager Tiernan Lynch as John Herron went off late with an injury. Out of subs the Inver Reds were down to 10 men for the remainder of the game.
Full Time: Larne 4-0 Limavady United
Larne: 13 Michael Argyrides (GK), 3 Graham Kelly, 4 Albert Watson, 6 John Herron, 10 David McDaid, 11 Ben Doherty, 14 Andrew Scott, 16 Lee Lynch, 17 Andrew Mitchell, 23 Tomas Cosgrove, 24 Jeff Hughes ©, 2 Kofi Balmer (26), 12 Thomas Oluwa (64), 30 Matthew Lusty (64), 38 Caolan Donnelly (71), 32 Max Greer (71).
Limavady: 1 Paul Wells (GK), 2 Aaron McLaughlin, 3 Gareth McFadden, 4 Hugh Carlin ©, 6 Jack Mullan, 7 Caiolan Brennan, 9 Dean Brown, 10 Gary McFadden, 14 Marcus O’Kane, 17 Ryan Doherty, 18 Alex Pomeroy
Referee: Diarmuid Harragan