Larne defeated Dergview 2-0 at a rain soaked Inver Park with the victory enough to send the Inver Reds four points clear at the top of the table.

However, in a potential blow to the Invermen, Thomas Stewart was carried off the pitch on a stretcher, fresh from scoring the home side’s opening goal earlier in the first half.

Former Linfield forward Stewart went close to breaking the deadlock twice inside the opening minutes, firstly firing wide of the base of the post and then with a headed effort over the bar, as Martin Donnelly swung the ball in from a corner.

With 24 minutes gone, Jeff Hughes passed into Ben Tilney with the Englishman’s low shot from outside the box parried behind by Alan Buchanan.

However, Larne did have the lead a minute later. A neat through ball from Donnelly on 25 minutes allowed Stewart to turn inside the defender and slide the ball into the net, with a powerful low shot.

Five minutes from the break, Dergview’s Paul Smith fired straight at goal from 40 yards out with Conor Devlin extending his left arm to make the save.

On the stroke of half time, after Donnelly’s free-kick in from the left of the area, David McDaid, on as a sub for Stewart, headed just wide.

Shortly after the hour mark, from Donnelly’s corner, Jeff Hughes doubled the advantage for Tiernan Lynch’s side.

On 70, Matthew Kirk struck well to force Devlin into making a good save whilst Smith’s free kick drifted over the bar as the clock ran into over time, with Larne holding on for the three points, extending their unbeaten league start to 10 matches.

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

Unused subs: M Dougherty, Finnegan.

Dergview: G. Buchanan, M. Buchanan, Falconer, McNulty,  A. Buchanan, Burns (c), Callaghan, Kirk, A Dougherty, Smith, Sproule

Subs: Crawford, Doherty, Hargan, S. Dougherty, Wallace

Referee: Gareth Stewart

Attendance: 796

Man of the match: Fuad Sale

Larne are next in action on Wednesday 17 October against a Rangers XI, with a limited amount of tickets left at Inver Park shop, kick-off is 7.30pm. Three days later, it’s yet another East Antrim derby with Carrick Rangers making the short trip to Inver Park. Kick-off is 3pm.

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