News Story

Early McDaid goal earns win and makes European history

A Davy McDaid goal in the opening two minutes gave Larne a 1-0 win away to Bala Town in the club’s first ever European encounter.

It sets up a slender advantage for Tiernan Lynch’s men ahead of next week’s second leg of their Europa Conference League first round qualifying tie.

it was the dream start for Larne, as they broke the deadlock with less than two minutes on the clock.

Midfielder Andy Mitchell floated a ball over the top for McDaid to run on to – and after defender Tony Stephens had misjudged the flight of the ball – the striker side-footed a lovely effort over onrushing goalkeeper Alex Ramsey to break the deadlock.

Tiernan Lynch handed debuts to three summer signings in the form of goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson, Kofi Balmer and Cian Bolger.

All three looked assured as the home side grew into the game and tested the Larne rear guard with a series of set pieces.

They failed to seriously threaten Ferguson for much of the half, however.

The closest the home side came to an equaliser arrived 10 minutes before the break, when

ex-Wolves midfielder Dave Edwards rattled the crossbar from Kieran Smith’s right-wing cross, but the assistant flagged for offside before Edwards’ team-mates had a chance to scramble for the rebound.

At the other end, McDaid continued to be in the thick of the action when he flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

The Welsh side started the second half brightly, and were almost level within three minutes of the restart.

Skipper Chris Venables found a yard of space just outside the box and his low effort tested former Linfield stopper Ferguson, but the goalkeeper showed a clean pair of hands to hold the effort.

Four minutes later, at the other end, Davy McDaid was the architect of a good opportunity for Larne as a cross with the outside of his foot found Dean Jarvis on the left, but the angle was too tight for him to seriously test Ramsay.

Lynch’s side grew in confidence as the second half wore on and looked the most likely to grab the next goal. The had a good chance to do exactly that through substitute Conor McKendry on 72 minutes.

McKendry beat his man on his way into the box and tested Ramsay, but the goalkeeper palmed it just beyond the lurking McDaid inside the six-yard box.

With ten minutes left fellow sub Ronan Hale, shot narrowly wide of Ramsay’s right hand post when Larne broke forward.

Bala Town: Ramsay, Woods, Stephens, Spittle, Mendes (’77 Leslie), Evans (’77 Bauress), Smith (’72 Smith, 90’ Peate), Rutherford, Edwards, Venables, Shannon

Unused subs: Lloyd, Walker-Rice, Kay,

Larne: Ferguson, Balmer (’73 Watson), Sule, Randall (’60 McKendry), McDaid (’73 Hale), Lynch, Mitchell, Bolger, Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis

Unused subs: Argyrides, Kelly, Robinson, Herron, Donnelly, Scott, Lusty

Referee: Mohammad Al-Emara (Finland)

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