LARNE produced a superb second half fight back to leave Seaview with three points in a league game for the first time in 31 years.
You have to go back to 1990 for the last time that Larne defeated Crusaders in the top flight, but Tiernan Lynch’s men secured just that in this 3-1 victory in Saturday’s late streamed kick-off.
In truth, it was a first half to forget for the Invermen who went into the break goal down thanks to Ross Clarke’s late goal.
However, the second half brought a transformed performance with goals from subs Johnny McMurray and Dylan Mottley-Henry sandwiched either side of Ronan Hale’s impressive finish.
Crusaders led the way for much of the first half and came within a whisker of taking the lead when Jamie McGonigle fired just wide.
However, they did have the lead to take into the break as Ben Kennedy’s free-kick on 45 minutes was pushed away by Conor Mitchell, only for Ross Clarke to follow-up and fire home.
Larne boss Lynch rung the changes as the second half wore on and it was the first of those, Johnny McMurray, who levelled on 62 minutes. He profited from a superb assist from skipper Jeff Hughes, who carried the ball out of defence, before slipping the ball into the path of the striker on the left side of the box and McMurray finished well from a tight angle.
From here Larne grew in confidence and took the lead seven minutes later. John Herron did well to maintain possession on the right side of the penalty box and square for Ronan Hale, with the striker curling past Sean O’Neill with a great finish from 18 yards.
A super double save from Conor Mitchell, then ensured Larne maintained their lead.
The points where secure when John Herron again turned provider. His direct pass from his own half caught out the Crusaders rearguard, with Mottley-Henry beating O’Neill to the ball and bravely heading home from 20 yards.
Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Kennedy, McGonigle, Caddell, Forsythe, O’Rourke, Thompson, Heatley, R. Clarke, Larmour
Subs: Tuffey (not used), Lowry (not used), Cushley (replaced Clarke 86), Lecky (replaced Thompson 73), Ruddy (not used), Owens (replaced McGonigle 73), A. Clarke (not used)
Larne: C. Mitchell, Watson, Herron, Sule, Hale, McDaid, Donnelly, A. Mitchell, Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis
Subs: Robinson (replaced Hale 75), Scott (not used), McKendry (not used), Mottley-Henry (replaced McDaid 69), Wade Slater (not used), D’Sena (not used), McMurray (replaced A. Mitchell 55)
Referee: Ian McNabb