By Peter Wilson
Larne ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at home to bottom side Dungannon Swifts as the Invermen recorded their first home win in 2021.
A stunning Mark Randall opener early on followed up after half-time by a Douglas Wilson own goal and a trademark Marty Donnelly free-kick were enough to move Larne to within two points of leaders Linfield.
Larne dominated right from the off and deservedly took the lead through Mark Randall’s goal nine minutes in. Randall got on the end of Tomas Cosgrove’s throw-in and dispatched a stunning effort into the top left from 18 yards, via chest and half volley finish.
The hosts continued to dominate during the rest of the first period and had several chances to extend their lead. First, Randall latched onto Fuad Sule’s ball up top and forced a full stretch save from Roy Carroll in the Dungannon sticks on 25.
With four minutes left until the break, Johnny McMurray’s header from Marty Donnelly’s low left-wing cross was pushed over by Carroll.
Dungannon struggled to deal with Larne’s intensity and failed to threat to Conor Devlin’s goal during the opening period.
Half-time: Larne 1 Dungannon Swifts 0
With seven minutes played in the second half, the home side doubled their lead when Randall delivered a free-kick, from the left flank, into the area and Swifts skipper Douglas Wilson put the ball into his own net. The visitors protested that Wilson was pushed in the back by McMurray but referee Ian McNabb waved them away.
On 73, Donnelly completed the scoring when his 20-yard free-kick hit off the Dungannon wall and ended up in the top right.
Substitute Ben Gallagher had a go from range for the away side deep in injury time, but the ball curled wide of the left post.
Full-time: Larne 3 Dungannon Swifts 0
Larne: Devlin, Watson, Robinson (Kelly 35’), Sule, Randall (Herron 79’), Donnelly, Mottley-Henry (McKendry 72’), Cosgrove, Hughes (c), Jarvis, McMurray
Subs not used: C Mitchell, Hale, Lynch, A Mitchell
Dungannon Swifts: Carroll, Coyle, Wilson (c) (Gallagher 56’), Byers, McAleer (Devlin 56’), O Smyth, Campbell (Mayse 56’), Carvill, Glenny, M Smyth, Patterson
Subs not used: Byrne, Teggart, Patton, O’Kane
Referee: Ian McNabb
Larne travel to Solitude on Saturday 20 February to face Cliftonville (3pm).