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
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