Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
Ballymena United ran out 4-2 winners away to Larne as David Jeffrey’s charges gave an impressive display with Johnny Addis, Andy McGrory, Cathair Friel and Jude Winchester scoring for the visitors. Johnny McMurray and Mark Randall found the net for the Invermen.
Both sides began brightly but it was United who were to carve an early opportunity as Addis spotted Conor Devlin off his line and lobbed it over him from inside his own half, after just six minutes on the clock.
Larne replied almost immediately as McDaid controlled the ball well with his effort clipping the crossbar on the way over.
The home side at last got back on level terms as McDaid showed great vision to pick out Randall on the edge of the box with the midfielder slotting past Ross Glendinning on 35.
Parity was short lived as the visitors struck again two minutes later; this time it was McGrory, who stabbed home at the back post from Steven McCullough’s left-wing delivery.
Just six minutes into the second half, Friel volleyed beautifully on his right-foot from 20 yards out into the top right beyond Devlin.
The Sky Blues then extended their advantage to three five minutes later as Winchester fired a dipping effort into the roof of the net from 25 yards, picking up on slack passing from the home side.
McMurray reduced the deficit to two with less than a quarter of an hour to go as he bundled home after being introduced for skipper Jeff Hughes.
Larne: Devlin, Kelly, Watson, McEleney, Sule, Randall, McDaid, Donnelly (Lynch), Tilney (Graham), Cosgrove, Hughes (McMurray)
Unused subs: Mitchell, Ramsey, Stewart, Hassin
Ballymena United: Glendinning, Addis, Harpur, Friel, McCullough, Burns (Balmer), Carville, McGrory, Winchester (McGinty), Ervin (c), Millar
Unused subs: Williamson, Kane, Mayse, Kelly, Lavery
Man of the Match: Mark Randall
Referee: Lee Tavinder
Larne travel to Crusaders on Saturday 24 August. Kick off at Seaview is 3pm.