Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
LARNE took a big step towards securing promotion to the Premiership as they thrashed Carrick Rangers to open up a 16-point gap between themselves and Portadown.
An early goal from Marty Donnelly alongside a David McDaid brace and a late screamer from Benny Igiehon gave the hosts revenge after their earlier away defeat by the Rangers at the end of December.
The Invermen opened up the Carrick defence with just three minutes gone; Lee Lynch playing in Ben Tilney with the Englishman squaring the ball into the box to allow Marty Donnelly to slip the ball home.
Lynch himself went close on 24; the ball flicked on by Tilney; the ex-Sligo Rovers man flashing his shot across the face of goal.
The home side’s lead was doubled just before half-time; David McDaid sending Aaron Hogg the wrong way from the spot after Donnelly was fouled by the Carrick stopper.
The first real moment of fire from the Rangers came early in the second period; an error from Fuad Sule pounced upon by Lukasz Adamczyk who guided his pass in the direction of Craig McMillen only for the attack to peter out.
The game took an ugly turn shortly after the hour mark when both teams were involved in a brief melee; McDaid and Reece Neale getting booked by referee Peter McGrath in the process.
It was McDaid who put the Inver Reds firmly in control two minutes later; prodding home from Tilney’s inviting cross to get his brace. McDaid himself had a chance to grab his hat-trick on 68 minutes; only being denied by some superb work from Hogg.
As the game went into stoppage time, substitute Benny Igiehon curled in a spectacular strike from distance to firmly seal a memorable derby win for Tiernan and his men. The second time this season they have recorded a 4-0 home win against their derby rivals.
Larne: Devlin, Sule (Hassin), McEleney, Kelly (Igiehon), McDaid, Donnelly, Tilney, Lynch (Scullion), McNally, Cosgrove, Hughes. Unused subs: Dougherty, Ramsey.
Carrick Rangers: Hogg, McCauley, Neale, Gage (Coyle), Rodgers, Loughran, McMillen (Houston), McDermott (McNeill), Adamczyk, Anderson, Strain. Unused subs: McDowell
Man of the Match: David McDaid
Referee: Peter McGrath
What’s up next?
Larne are at home for the sixth round of the Irish Cup on Saturday 2 February with the visitors being Crumlin Star. Kick off at Inver Park is 3pm. The Inver Reds are back in league action on Saturday 9 February as they make the trip to Shamrock Park to face Portadown. Kick off is 3pm.