Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
LARNE came from behind to comfortably beat Loughgall 4-1 at Inver Park. Despite going ahead through Peter Campbell, the visitors slumped to defeat with Benny Igiehon, Jeff Hughes, David McDaid and new signing, Lee Lynch all scoring to give the hosts the win. The Invermen now go into the post-split fixtures with a 15-point lead over second-placed Carrick Rangers.
Loughgall got off to a dream start; Peter Campbell producing catching the home defence cold when his left wing cross sailed into the net past Conor Devlin.
The home side equalised just two minutes later though; Benny Igiehon bundling into the net his first goal for the club, after Paddy McNally’s efforts were denied by the keeper and the woodwork.
It was just after half an hour when the Inver Reds took the lead with Jeff Hughes tapping in to make it 2-1 after a period of sustained pressure.
Larne had two chances to extend the lead before the break but Igiehon and Donnelly were both denied from close range.
In the second half, with 71 minutes gone, substitute David McDaid burst down the left-hand side from a clever Lee Lynch through ball, slipping the ball into the bottom right past Gareth Buchanan.
Ex-Sligo Rovers man, Lynch grabbed his first goal for the club six minutes from time; planting in a header from substitute, David Scullion’s cross.
To cap off a bad day at the office for the away side, Jordan Bell was shown a red card for a rash tackle on McDaid on 88 minutes; the resulting free-kick being curled wide of the mark by Scullion.
Larne: Devlin, Sule, McEleney (Scullion), Kelly, Donnelly (Hassin), Tilney, Lynch, McNally, Cosgrove, Hughes, Igiehon (McDaid). Unused subs: Dougherty, Stuart
Loughgall: Buchanan, Neill, Rea, Upton, Bell, Gibson, McCullough, Ferguson (Mullen), Hoey (Liggett), McConnell, Campbell (Smith) Unused subs: Dallas, Calvert
Referee: Ben McMaster
Man of the Match: Fuad Sule
What’s up next?
Larne will look to exact revenge against derby rivals Carrick Rangers on Saturday 26 January, after their 2-0 defeat last month, in the first post-split game. Kick off at Inver Park is 3pm.