By Peter Wilson
Andrew Mitchell scored his first goal for the club with an 85th minute penalty to seal Larne’s win against a defensive Warrenpoint Town side.
The 1-0 victory for Tiernan Lynch’s men gives Larne their ninth win in their last 10 games.
The momentum was with Larne in the early exchanges as the Invermen dictated the tempo and had the majority of possession.
They could have taken the lead with seven minutes gone when Joe Tully got his head to a Tomas Cosgrove right-wing cross six yards out, but Warrenpoint stopper Gabriel Sava somehow kept it out with his legs.
On 12 minutes, Jeff Hughes lofted a perfectly weighted ball through to the unmarked Lee Lynch but he scuffed his low shot just the wrong side of the left post when well placed at the heart of the defence.
Just after the half hour mark, in a flowing move down the pitch, Cosgrove played a one-two with Martin Donnelly on the right before launching the ball into the box. However, John Herron’s first-time shot was wide of the post.
Around four minutes before the break, Donnelly whipped in a corner from the right and Harry Flowers placed his header over the crossbar.
Warrenpoint showed more commitment and intent than in the first half but it was Larne who had the better of the chances in the opening spell of the second half.
On 53 minutes, more good work from Cosgrove on the right saw him square the ball to Fuad Sule but his low shot flashed two yards wide.
In the 57th minute, Dean Jarvis took the corner on the left quickly, laying the ball off to Lynch who swung the ball into the area but Albert Watson’s close-range header was straight at Sava.
Just after the hour, Donnelly’s low effort almost sneaked in at the near post but Sava did well to save.
Larne thought they had scored on 83 minutes when John Herron rolled the ball into the net after Sava saved Hughes’ effort from range but it was ruled out for offside.
The Invermen did indeed take the lead late on with five minutes left when Andrew Mitchell tucked away a penalty after Donnelly had been upended in the area by Matthew Lynch.
The home side held on in the last couple of minutes to seal a narrow but well-deserved win.
Larne: C Mitchell, Flowers, Watson, Sule (Randall), Donnelly, Tully (A Mitchell) Lynch (Tilney), Cosgrove, Hughes (c), Jarvis, Herron
Unused Subs: C. Devlin, G. Kelly, C. Ramsey, D. McDaid
Warrenpoint Town: Sava, Reilly, McVeigh, Lynch, Watters, Cowan (Doyle), Scannell, Dillon, Mullen, Deasy, Swan (O’Sullivan)
Unused Subs: G. Buchanan, E. Bennett, G. Smith, D. Wallace, A. Carroll
Referee: Evan Boyce
Man of the Match: John Herron
Up next for Larne is their Irish Cup Quarter Final at home to Coleraine on Friday 28 February. Kick off at Inver Park is 7.45pm.