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Late Ports leveller means search for home win in 2021 continues

An 89th minute Lee Bonis goal saw Portadown take a point from Inver Park as Larne’s search for a home win in 2021 continues.

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch handed a first start for Deadline Day signing from Bradford City, Dylan Mottley-Henry and he had a huge impact on the game.

He levelled Ben Guy’s early strike and made the second goal for Ronan Hale as Larne recovered well from the early set back.

However, the Ports took home a point when sub Lee Bonis headed home in the final minute.

The game exploded into life early on with a mix-up in the Larne back line handing Portadown the early advantage.

Larne defender Graham Kelly attempted to cushion the ball back goalkeeper Conor Devlin but was unaware the ‘keeper had already come to collect.

The end result was Kelly headed it over his stranded team-mate and Ports midfielder Ben Guy had the simple task of tapping in from a yard out.

The home side responded well and were almost level within a minute, only for Adam McCallum to block Mark Randall’s goalbound effort 10 yards out.

Larne weren’t to be denied however, and they were level on eight minutes when that man Mottley-Henry made his first contribution of the night.

Randall was once again involved, the former Arsenal man turning on the edge of the box to shoot and his low effort was parried out by Carney into the path of the alert Mottley-Henry, who poked home from six yards out.

Striker Davy McDaid then had to retire early for Lynch’s men, with Ronan Hale coming in the contest in the 15th minute.

Hale would make an quick impact as he fired his side ahead just four minutes later.

This time Mottley-Henry turned provider as he played a one-two with Randall on the right flank before sprinting to the byline and cutting it back for Hale to apply the finishing touch from just a few yards out.

After a busy opening period, the game settled down as Larne looked to play their trademark possession game.

They should have extended their lead four minutes before the break, however.

Neat play on the right flank culminated in Marty Donnelly crossing an inviting inswinging cross which found Hale at the back post. With time and space the lively forward could only steer his header wide from six yards out.

Larne began the second half with real intent and went close to a third goal three times inside the first five minutes of the new period.

Firstly Mottley-Henry saw his back post effort fail to beat Carney and then the Manchester United youngster got down well to his right to turn away Hale’s effort.

The best chance arrived for Mary Donnelly on 50 minutes. The diminutive forward jinked his way into the box from the right flank and looked like hiss curling effort was going to find the back of the net, only for Greg Hall to safe he danger by heading clear, a yard out.

It was Larne who continued to probe in search of the goal they felt would make the game safe, but they had to wait until 20 minutes from time for their next opportunity.

Marty Donnelly’s cross from the left was met by the head of the lively Mottley-Henry, but he headed just wide of Carney’s near post. 

Despite the home pressure it was Portaown who scored next when Lee Bonis, who had just come off the bench, got to a deep cross into the box before Conor Devlin and nodded into an unguarded net.

Larne: Devlin, Kelly, Watson, Sule, Randal (’86 A Mitchel), McDaid (‘15 Hale), Donnelly, Lynch, Mottley-Henry (’75 McKendry), Cosgrove, Jarvis

Unused subs: C Mitchell, Wade Slater, Hughes, McMurray

Portadown: Carney, Hall, McCallum, Finnegan, McKeown, Tipton, Murray (’62 Bonis), Guy (’41 Lavery), Teggart (86’ Croskery), Conaty, Scannell

Unused subs: Buchanan, Kerr, Healy, Cowan

Referee: Lee Tavinder

 

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