Lee Bonis struck another brace as he helped Larne book an Irish Cup quarter-final berth with victory over Linfield at Inver Park.
Bonis scored either side of half-time as Tiernan Lynch’s side recorded a deserved 2-0 win and secure their place in the last eight.
The game was the fourth meeting between the sides so far this season. It was also a repeat of last year’s Irish Cup final, where the Blues had run out 2-1 winners.
Larne began the game like a side keen to make up for that result and started the encounter very much on the front foot. Ben Doherty had a penalty appeal turned down early on, when he turned debutant defender Ben Hall and was sent crashing to the floor just inside the box, but referee Andrew Davey waved away the appeals.
Larne weren’t to be denied however and were in front after 13 minutes. Andy Scott picked up a throw-in on the left flank, cut inside and unleashed a swerving and dipping effort which Linfield goalkeeper punched away. Unfortunately for him, it landed at the feet of Lee Bonis and the striker lashed home the opening goal from 12 yards out.
Linfield had an opportunity to reply soon afterwards, when Kirk Millar led a break on the right. He slipped the ball inside to Ahmed Salam and the on loan Hull City player was unfortunate to see his effort, from just outside the box, crash off Conor Devlin’s right-hand post.
Devlin was to thank for keeping his side in front after this when he made an impressive double save, receiving to tip over Niall Quinn’s goal-bound header from a corner.
At the other end, Bonis was in the thick of the action again, side footing an effort just wide, before Christy Manzinga cut inside but produced an effort straight at Devlin just before the break.
The second half was a cagey affair with Larne having a lead to defend, as well as Linfield going for broke with an triple sub to empty their bench of attacking options.
It was Larne grabbed the next, and final, goal of the game however on 83 minutes. Great pressure from Davy McDaid and Lee Lynch on Jamie Mulgrew forced the Linfield skipper to look for a pass back to his own goalkeeper. However, Lee Bonis was alert to the opportunity and latched on to the pass before rounding Chris Johns and slotting in for the game’s second goal.
Larne now face a trip to either Ballymena United or Portstewart in the quarter-finals on the weekend of Saturday 5th March.
Larne: Devlin, Cosgrove, Watson, Balmer, Jarvis, Scott (’81 Lynch), Herron, Sule (’89 Randall), Doherty (’81 Bolger 81’), McDaid (;84 Hale), Bonis
Unused subs: Ferguson, Mitchell
Linfield: Johns, Quinn, Callacher, Hall, Clarke, McClean (’56 McKee), Mulgrew, Fallon,Millar (’56 Devine), Salam (’56 Hastie), Manzinga (’72 Evans)
Unused subs: Walsh, Pepper, Newberry
Referee: Andrew Davey