Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park

LARNE put in a commanding performance at home in the third East Antrim derby of the season to beat Carrick Rangers 4-0. A Martin Donnelly hat-trick and Ben Tilney’s goal helped the home side to go 11 games unbeaten and remain at the top of the table, still four points ahead of Dundela.

An early Larne corner put in by Martin Donnelly saw Patrick McNally glance his header wide at the front post.

With 15 minutes gone, Rangers’ Paul McDowell saw his low shot just inch past the near post.

However, it was Donnelly who landed his first goal of the afternoon, getting on the end of Tomas Cosgrove’s neat through-ball to slot home on 18 minutes.

Number two came half an hour in when Donnelly received a clever ball from Fuad Sule on the edge of the box to slip the ball through Liam McAuley’s legs.

David Scullion had the chance to make it three a couple of minutes before the break, but he fired over at close range from Donnelly’s cross on the left.

On 64, Jeff Hughes’ powerful shot from outside the area was pushed over the bar by the keeper. Meanwhile Ben Tilney’s low drive was frustratingly wide of the post, after a free flowing move.

Four minutes later the third goal arrived, as Cosgrove’s low cross from right found Tilney on hand to slide the ball into the back of the net.

Donnelly then gave a composed finish to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot, six minutes from time after David McDaid was fouled in the box by Carrick goalkeeper McAuley.

A Larne corner deep into stoppage time almost claimed the Invermen’s fifth when defender McNally aimed the ball straight at keeper McAuley having hooked onto Liam Hassin’s back header.

Larne: Devlin, Sule, McEleney, Kelly, Scullion (Hassin 68), McDaid (Osei-Bonsu 85), Donnelly (Henry 89), Tilney, McNally, Cosgrove, Hughes

Unused subs: Dougherty, Ramsey

Carrick Rangers: McAuley, Chapman, Neale, Surgenor, Rodgers, Loughran, Anderson, McDermott, McDowell (Green 65), Kelly (Murray 56), Nixon

Unused subs: Brennan, McCauley, Warwick

Referee: Ishmael Barbara

Attendance: 1035

Larne are back at Inver Park on Tuesday 23rd October against Ards in the County Antrim Shield. Kick off is 7.45pm. The Inver Reds are on the road for their 12th Championship match of the season with an encounter with H&W Welders on the cards on Saturday 27th October. Kick off at Tillysburn Park is 3pm.

Photograph: Bill Guiller

The second East Antrim derby of the 2018/19 season gave Larne a comfortable win over Ballyclare Comrades at Dixon Park. After a sluggish first half, the away side put four past the Comrades with no reply. A hat-trick from Martin Donnelly helping the Inver Reds return to the top of the table after Dundela’s 4-1 loss at home to H&W Welders.

Early in the first half, Joe McWilliams crossed to Jason Johnston in the box with Conor Devlin spreading himself to neutralise the threat.

At the other end, Jeff Hughes’ long ball to David Scullion allowed the number eight to cross to Liam Hassin at the near post from the left on six minutes. Just before half an hour, Scullion lobbed the ball into the area with Tomas Cosgrove heading into the side netting.

The closest either side came to taking the lead was when Marty Donnelly’s shot hit the base of the post before being cleared.

It was Donnelly who gave a composed finish to place the ball past Kyle Rowe to open the scoring on 53 minutes, after neatly turning past the home defender.

Five minutes later, Donnelly rounded the keeper and slotted in at close range once more to double Larne’s lead.

With one of the few chances for the Comrades in the second half, coming from a corner, Eoin Kane passed back to Ballyclare skipper, Dean Youle but all the captain could do was shoot straight into Devlin’s hands.

Donnelly added his third from the penalty spot 67 minutes in, after being tripped in the box by Michael McQuitty.

With 80 minutes gone, David McDaid chipped the ball to Donnelly in the 18-yard box with Donnelly driving his shot over the bar, before McDaid was denied with a fine point blank save from Rowe.

Eight minutes from time, substitute Thomas Stewart finished from a neat angle to make it four and condemn the home side to their third consecutive defeat.

Ballyclare Comrades: Rowe, Crane, Wright, McQuitty, McWilliams, Kane, Gray, Johnston, Willigham, Robinson, Youle

Subs: McIlveen, Tully, Donnelly, Kirk, Gault

Larne: Devlin, Sule, Finnegan, Kelly, Scullion (Stuart), Donnelly, Tilney (Stewart), Hassin (McDaid), McNally, Cosgrove, Hughes

Unused subs: Dougherty, McEleney

Referee: Niall Gallagher

Larne are on the road again on Saturday 6th October with a trip to Limavady United. Kick off at the Limavady Showgrounds is 3pm.

Peter Wilson reports from Dixon Park


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