Report: Andrew Morrison
Photo: Bill Guiller
Larne are through to the last eight of the ToalsBet.com Senior Shield after beating Glentoran 2-1 at Inver Park.
First half goals from Kofi Balmer and David McDaid were enough for the Inver Reds, despite a consolation goal from Seanan Clucas, who finished the game with 10 men.
The opening minutes of the game saw very little in terms of chances. However, Andrew Mitchell and Glentoran’s Gael Bigirimana and were among a number of players to put in a series of tough challenges as referee Christopher Morrison opted to keep his cards in his pocket.
The first effort of note came with 14 minutes on the clock as Andrew Scott received the ball on the left flank and before cutting in for a shot from range, only to be well saved by Glendinning in goal.
From the resulting corner Ben Doherty whipped in a cross which fell loose at the penalty spot for Kofi Balmer who poked home for his third goal in a week to make it 1-0.
Shortly after the opener there was a scare for the Inver Reds. After seemingly looking comfortable in possession a wayward back pass from Andrew Mitchell almost fell perfectly for the Glens frontmen.
There was more cause for concern for the home side as Ben Cushnie made good run down the right wing before his cross went straight across the face of Argyides goal. Fortunately for Larne, Glentoran’s Andrew Mitchell was unable to get on the end of it.
Despite Larne’s best efforts to play out from the back, on several occasions the press from the Glens frontline made it difficult. After winning a series of corners Glentoran failed to convert despite managing to get several shots off.
Then after 43 minutes Randall played a well weighted ball over the top of the visiting defence where David McDaid latched onto the ball. After taking it under his control the striker lobbed the onrushing Glendinning to find the net and make it 2-0.
However, just before the half time whistle there was almost an instant reply from Seanan Clucas whose effort from range clipped the top of the bar.
Half-time: Larne 2 Glentoran 1
David McDaid saw the first chance of the half fall his way as he got into a footrace with Marcus Kane, but the Glens defender just did enough to prevent the forward from getting a shot off.
With 59 minutes gone Glentoran got back into the game. A ball in from Marcus Kane found Ben Cushnie at the back post with his mis-control falling to Seanan Clucas in the six-yard box. The midfielder’s effort just got past the scrambling Argyides, with the linesman giving the goal.
With tempers continuing to flare in the game Ciaran O’Connor brought down the onrushing Mark Randall in his own half. Having already been booked the midfielder was shown his second yellow of the night and ultimately a red in the 66th minute.
Late in the half the visitors had two quick penalty claims turned down by the referee as Bigirimana and Donnelly both went to ground in the box. As the referee waved play on Larne broke on the counter through Thomas Oluwa who carried the ball into the box before his shot was blocked at the near post.
In the dying moments of the game the 10 men of Glentoran began to pile the pressure on with a series of chances and two free kicks which both hit the wall. However, the home side managed see out the game through seven additional minutes to win 2-1.
Full-time: Larne 2 Glentoran 1
Larne: 13 Michael Argyides (GK) , 2 Kofi Balmer, 3 Graham Kelly, 4 Albert Watson ©, 8 Mark Randall, 10 David McDaid, 11 Ben Doherty, 14 Andrew Scott, 16 Lee Lynch, 17 Andrew Mitchell, 23 Tomas Cosgrove. 7 Navid Nasseri (65) 12 Thomas Oluwa (73) 5 Fuad Sule (84)
Glentoran: 33 Ross Glendinning (GK) , 3 Marcus Kane (C), 5 Gael Bigirimana, 10 Ruaidhri Donnelly, 12 Andrew Mitchell, 16 Seanan Clucas, 19 Ciaran O’Connor, 20 Malachy Smith, 21 Joe Crowe, 22 Caolan Marron, 26 Ben Cushnie, 6 Bobby Burns (64), 8 Rhys Marshall (69) 30 Jenkins (84)
Referee: Christopher Morrison