Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
LARNE got their pre-season campaign off to a winning start as they earned a dominant five goal victory over Amateur League Premier Division side Crumlin United. All of the Invermen’s new signings were in action with Sean Graham, Albert Watson, Mark Randal, Johnny McMurray and Conor Mitchell all getting some minutes under their belts.
Meanwhile the goals came from all areas of the park with Thomas Stewart, Albert Watson and Martin Donnelly all getting a goal apiece along with David McDaid getting a brace of his own.
The first goal arrived after just four minutes on the clock; Thomas Stewart rising highest to head in from an accurate Martin Donnelly delivery.
Meanwhile, with a quarter of an hour gone, former Arsenal midfielder, Mark Randall struck his free-kick well from distance with the ball rattling the angle of the upright and the crossbar.
It was soon 2-0 though, as Donnelly picked out Albert Watson inside the area who nodded in for his first goal for the club on 25 minutes.
Donnelly turned from provider to scorer nine minutes later as he put away his own penalty after being fouled.
The visitor’s only effort of note before the break was a free-kick which Conor Devlin held at full stretch.
In the second half, with a number of changes made from the bench, Watson should have made it four but his header, resulting from Lee Lynch’s corner from the right, produced a superb reaction save from the United goalkeeper.
However, despite the visitor’s best endeavours, they succumbed to yet another Larne goal; this time coming from David McDaid who slotted home from 15 yards after the ball was squared into him by Johnny McMurray.
Thereafter a flurry of chances came and went for the home side; on 74, McMurray incisively found the run of Ben Tilney on the left flank who squared the ball into McDaid, but his five-yard effort was bravely turned away by the keeper.
With four minutes left of regular time, after good link up play between Tilney and McMurray once again, the ex-Ballymena striker’s shot flashed wide of goal.
McDaid wrapped up the win himself on 88 minutes as he thumped the ball into the roof of the net from the spot, after a handball inside the box.
It could have been six only moments later as Lynch’s pinpoint cross was punched away by the keeper with McMurray only narrowly failing to connect his head to it.
Larne squad: Devlin, Graham, Cosgrove, Watson, Ramsey, McEleney, Sule, Randall, Stewart, McDaid, Donnelly, Trialist, Hughes, Tilney, McMurray, Hassin, Lynch, Gilmour, Mitchell
Next up for Larne is another friendly at home to Amateur League opposition, welcoming Rathfriland to Inver Park on Monday 24th June, with a 7.30pm kick-off.
Photo: Bill Guiller