Photo: Bill Guiller
MARTY DONNELLY bagged a 93rd minute winner as Larne saw off Glenavon to book a place in Saturday’s Uefa Conference League play-off final.
Tiernan Lynch’s men will now take on Cliftonville at Inver Park, with a 5.30pm kick-off on Saturday.
The Invermen were pushed all the way by a determined Glenavon side, who took the lead with just five minutes gone.
Peter Campbell’s corner from the left found its way to the back post where Andy Doyle put it back into the danger area. Larne were unable to clear their lines and the ball was nodded goalwards with Danny Purkis on hand to get the telling touch two yards out.
Glenavon’s lead lasted for just three minutes. Marty Donnelly’s corner from the right, was headed goalwards by John Herron and cleared as far as Ronan Hale. The strike returned the ball into the middle of the box and Davy McDaid was alert to stab it home inside the six yard box.
The same player almost gave Larne the lead with an audacious effort, with 13 minutes gone.
Goalkeeper Craig Hyland collected the ball after a Larne attack and roll the ball the front of his feet to launch an attack.
He failed to notice McDaid lurking behind in the box, however, and the striker nipped in to rob him of the ball only for Hyland to recover and smoother the attempt from the edge of the box.
From here on, the game become end-to-end without either side doing much to test the goalkeeper at either end.
The next meaningful opportunity arrived on 34 minutes, with that man McDaid at the heart of the action once more,
Glenavon continued their tigerish performance at the start of the second half and had a chance to retake the lead on 50 minutes.
Fitzpatrick, who was causing the home side problems alongside strike partner Purkis, let fly from the edge of the box with Mitchell at full stretch to turn it over.
Larne were the side who just about looked the more likely to prevent the game going into an extra 30 minutes, with Ronan Hale firing wide when well placed inside the box with 22 minutes gone, before Albert Watson headed wide from Donnelly’s corner late on.
However, they had to wait for three minutes into stoppage time to seal the victory.
A well-worked move down the left flank saw full-back Dean Jarvis feed the ball inside to Conor McKendry. The sub, in turn, found Marty Donnelly inside the box and the little forward took a turn before producing a net right-footed finish past Hyland who had no chance to seal victory.
Larne: C Mitchell, Watson, Robinson, Herron (73 Lynch), Sule (’60 A Mitchell), Randall, Hale (’83 McKendry), McDaid, Donnelly, Cosgrove, Jarvis
Unused Subs: Scott, D’Sena, McMurray, Lusty
Glenavon: Hyland, A Doyle, Purkis (’75 McCloskey), Campbell, Hall, Snoddy, Fitzpatrick, Douglas, Garrett, Ward (’93 Coates), McNulty
Unused subs: Birney, Byrne, O’Mahony, Norton, J Doyle
Referee: Lee Tavinder