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

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


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