Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
The Inver Reds booked their place in the third round of the Bet McLean League Cup as they triumphed 3-0 over Lisburn Distillery with the help of a Thomas Stewart header and two spectacular strikes from skipper Jeff Hughes and Chris Ramsey.
On a more worrying note, goalkeeper Conor Mitchell was forced off injured in the first half after being fouled in his own penalty area.
The Invermen came out fighting after their 2-2 draw away to Crusaders last weekend and should have gone ahead after a flurry of chances.
Hughes and Marty Donnelly both sought to test Sean McIlhone from range in the first 10 minutes but the Distillery keeper was equal to their efforts.
Ben Tilney also went close to putting the home side ahead on 19 minutes, but his cross turned shot on goal cannoned off the crossbar and was cleared.
The first two goals came in a crucial four-minute period just before the break as Lisburn’s resilience was finally broken; Tilney putting in an inviting delivery for Stewart to nod in for 1-0.
The lead was then doubled on the stroke of half-time, when skipper Hughes arrowed a screamer into the bottom right from 30 yards.
Just four minutes into the second half, Tilney once again whipped in a great delivery from the right hand side but Stewart was unable to keep his header down on this occasion.
Donnelly almost grabbed a third for Larne just after the hour as he cut inside and saw his effort bounce off the post before being cleared.
With only five minutes left, Ramsey added a bit more gloss to the score line as he cushioned his thumping strike from distance into the bottom right corner to give McIlhone no chance.
The visitors had their only chance of note in the game when Richard Nesbitt’s header from Michael O’Hanlon’s free-kick was saved by Conor Devlin, being turned behind for a corner.
Larne: Mitchell (Devlin 40), Kelly, Ramsey, McEleney, Stewart, (McDaid 72), Donnelly, Tilney, Lynch, Hassin, Cosgrove (Andrade 61), Hughes (c)
Unused subs: Sule, Randall, Graham, Gilmour
Lisburn Distillery: McIlhone, Byrne (Doyle 77), Clarke, Getty, Curley, Moore (c), Long, Brannigan (Arterton 69), Rooney, Nesbitt, Beta (O’Hanlon 72)
Unused subs: Nicholl, Wright, McCaw, Harris
Referee: Shane Andrews
With no game this weekend, up next for the Invermen is an away trip to the Oval on Saturday 7 September to face Glentoran. Kick off is 3pm.