Report by Peter Wilson
Larne earned a 2-1 win over Crusaders at Inver Park to move into second spot in the Premiership table.
The home side enjoyed much of the possession and had the better of the chances as goals from Davy McDaid and Tomas Cosgrove inside four second half minutes were enough to see off the visitors. There was a late scare for the home side when Declan Caddell got one back for the away side after some sloppy play from Larne.
The Invermen were knocking on the door just two minutes in. Josh Robinson put a ball down the left-hand side to Lee Lynch. Davy McDaid picked up the ball and slotted just wide into the side-netting at the front post, wrong-footing Sean O’Neill in the process.
After another three minutes, a good delivery from the corner on the right by Mark Randall fell to Robinson whose fierce effort dipped just over the bar.
It took another 20 minutes or so for Larne to get another shot at goal. This time Randall came close with a rasping drive at goal from 23 yards which landed just wide of the right post in the side-netting.
With seven minutes left of the first half, Tomas Cosgrove floated a good ball in from the right and McDaid connected first time with his head but O’Neill did well to tip it over the bar.
The final chance of the half came as Marty Donnelly’s dangerous right-wing in-swinging cross found John Herron but he couldn’t keep his header on target.
Half-time: Larne 0 Crusaders 0
In their first move of the second half, Randall flicked the ball over the defence to Donnelly inside the box. His curling shot was pushed away well by Sean O’Neill.
On 55 minutes, McDaid wound his way into the box down the inside left channel and held onto possession under pressure from a Crues defender. He then fed the ball into Dean Jarvis who fired straight at the ‘keeper at his near post.
The first of Larne’s two goals arrived 21 minutes from time as Randall played a beautiful pass over the top with Davy McDaid holding off Aidan Wilson to grab onto the ball and slot beneath O’Neill.
McDaid was involved in the second goal just four minutes later when he laid off to Cosgrove who played a lovely one-two with Donnelly before dancing around the defence and poking the ball in at a tight angle.
The Crues got a lifeline in the 81st minute when Conor Devlin played a pass to Fuad Sule who was just inside the box. Declan Caddell put in a sliding tackle to win the ball and dispatched it past Devlin.
Larne made their first change of the game on 82 minutes when Jeff Hughes replaced John Herron.
The Inver Reds’ second change came in the second minute of stoppage time when Luke Wade Slater came on for Lee Lynch and despite some late pressure from the visitors, Larne held on for all three points.
Full-time: Larne 2 Crusaders 1
Larne: Devlin, Watson (c), Robinson, Herron (Hughes 82’), Sule, Randall, McDaid, Donnelly, Lynch (Wade Slater 90 +2’), Cosgrove, Jarvis
Unused Subs: C Mitchell, Kelly, Hale, A Mitchell, Murr
Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns (Kennedy 74’), Hegarty, Wilson, Lowry, McGonigle, Forsythe, Lecky (Caddell 68’), Owens (Ruddy 8’), Thompson, Clarke
Unused Subs: Doherty, Hale, Cushley, O’Rourke
MotM: Tomas Cosgrove
Referee: Shane Andrews
Larne are at home for their next Premiership game against Cliftonville on Saturday 21 November (3pm).