Report by Peter Wilson
Photo: Bill Guiller
Larne ended their pre-season with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Ards at Inver Park. Goals from John Herron, Davy McDaid and Ronan Hale capped off a good performance from the Invermen.
It was a game which also saw Max Greer and Nathan Murr from the Academy take to the field.
Larne started off brightly in the first half, creating lots of good chances but it took 13 minutes for the hosts to have a real stab at goal with Davy McDaid’s gentle effort floating just wide.
On 16 minutes, Tomas Cosgrove threaded the ball through to Marty Donnelly on the right of the box. His shot was helped across the line by McDaid but it was adjudge to be offside.
The home fans didn’t have to wait long though for the opening goal as it arrived just four minutes later; some great build up play from Larne saw Donnelly play the ball back to John Herron who smashed it into the bottom left from just outside the box to give the goalkeeper no chance.
Just after the half hour mark, McDaid made it two as Herron put him through on goal with a clever ball. The striker made no mistake, tucking it away with composure past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Seven minutes from the break, Josh Robinson powered his header just wide of the left post from a Mark Randall corner as Larne looked to add to the scoreline.
Half-time: Larne 2 Ards 0
At half-time Conor Devlin, Ronan Hale, Graham Kelly, Andy Scott and Andy Mitchell replaced Conor Mitchell, Davy McDaid, Jeff Hughes, Mark Randall and Fuad Sule.
With 52 minutes gone, Academy player Nathan Murr also came on, as he replaced Marty Donnelly. Shortly afterwards, on the hour, Max Greer, another Academy hopeful, came on as a replacement for the injured Herron.
On 67 minutes, Hale had a good chance to make it 3-0 when he took his shot at an acute angle to the left of goal, but it smacked into the side-netting.
Hale got his goal though just three minutes later as Andy Scott crossed in from the left and the young striker stooped low to nod the ball into the net.
In one last effort to try and push for a fourth, Andy Mitchell tried a shot from range, but it went just over the bar.
Full-time: Larne 3 Ards 0
Larne: C. Mitchell (Devlin 46’), Watson, Robinson, Hughes (Kelly 46’), Herron (Greer 60’), Sule (A. Mitchell 46’), Cosgrove, Jarvis, Randall (Scott 46’), Donnelly (Murr 52’), McDaid (Hale 46’)
Larne now face Ballyclare Comrades in their first competitive outing of the new season in the first round of the County Antrim Shield on Saturday 10 October. Kick off at Inver Park is 3pm.