Larne maintained their two point lead at the top of the Bluefin Sports Championship with a 3-1 victory at the Limavady Showgrounds.

The Invermen’s comfortable two goal lead was cut in half with five minutes remaining, before David McDaid’s penalty made sure of the points.

With the game only beginning to settle down, the Invermen almost found themselves a goal behind, when a short backpass was rescued by Conor Devlin’s save on the edge of the penalty box.

From this Larne broke forward at pace, with Marty Donnelly curling home from the edge of the box to give his side the lead with just 13 minutes on the clock.

At the other end Devlin was called into action again, making a smart double save, firstly from Stuart McMullan’s header and then Jonny Hume’s follow-up.

Darren Stuart and Jeff Hughes came close to extending the lead, but both side’s went into the break with just that Donnelly goal to separate them.

Larne began the second with more purpose and had a chance to double their lead on 58 minutes, when Darren Stuart was fouled. Despite protests the trip was outside the box referee Declan Hassan pointed to the spot.

Home stopper Paul Wells made amends however, by producing a smart save from Marty Donnelly’s penalty.

It was a short reprieve though, as Donnelly’s resulting corner was headed home by Patrick McNally for his first goal for the club.

Most of the play was in Limavady’s half from this point on, however the visitors were unable to carve out too many meaningful goalscoring opportunities.

Then, with five minutes remaining, Limavady were back in the game when Larne failed to clear their lines sufficiently, and Hugh Carlin was on hand with a smart finish from the edge of the box.

With the Invermen keen to run down the clock at this stage, substitute David McDaid managed to wriggle clear of the corner flag before having his surge into the box ended with a foul.

The striker dusted himself down to confidently slam home the spot kick to make it 3-1 in stoppage time, and ensure the unbeaten league start to the season continued.

Limavady United: Wells, O’Kane, Gareth McFadden, McMullan, Boyle, Carlin, McCauley (Duffy), Gary McFadden, O’Connell (Pomeroy), Hume, Doherty

Subs not used: Devine, McGurk, Brown

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

Subs not used: Dougherty, Osei-Bonsu

Referee: Declan Hassan

We make the journey to the Limavady Showgrounds tomorrow buoyed by last week’s impressive victory at Dixon Park.

As ever, we know we face a stern examination from Sean Friars’ team, who have had some impressive results of their own this season.

The derby victory away to Ballyclare Comrades last week featured a fantastic hat-trick from Marty Donnelly, and we also saw Thomas Stewart, David McDaid and Darren Stuart all come off the bench to make a big contribution. This is exactly what we need, players making big contributions whether they start or come on during the match, if we are to be successful this season.

There was a tremendous atmosphere created in the away end last week and more of the same at the Limavady Showgrounds would be a huge boost to Tiernan and the boys.

There is just one note of caution we need to sound though – please leave the flares at home. We don’t need the fine that will come our way, or have points deducted, if this continues. I know no harm is intended, but it is a health and safety issue when lit at matches and would pose a serious risk for our pitch. We all have a responsibility on this journey we’re on and I would ask fans to heed this and leave the flares at home once and for all.

It has been another busy period at Inver Park this week. Many will have seen the floodlights on for the first time, after being commissioned at the start of the week. Larne Youth coaches were at Inver on Wednesday night for the Coerver coaching workshop, with senior Larne players taking coaching at Larne Youth in their place. I know for a fact the boys loved this.

On Monday of next week, we have a Health & Safety inspection at Inver Park, after which we hope to be in a position to announce another allocation of tickets for the Rangers XI fixture. If this is the case, shop opening times for tickets and merchandise will be announced on Monday afternoon.

Finally, let me add my own condolences to Clare Drummond, an integral part of our Working Committee, on the passing of her sister Fay. Clare and her family circle are in our thoughts at this time.



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