Lee Bonis opened his league account in style as he scored a 5-minute hat-trick in Larne’s 4-0 win at home to Cliftonville on Friday.
Paul O’Neill set Larne on their way 10 minutes before half-time, with Cliftonville’s plight made more difficult early in the second half when they were reduced to 10-men.
Bonis then sealed the points in style, doubling the lead with 20 minutes to go before completing his treble in quickfire fashion.
Cliftonville had 17-year-old Sean Moore sent off early in the second half for a reckless challenge on Aaron Donnelly as Bonis set about scoring his first league goals of the season.
The home side dominated in the first half and deservedly took the lead with 35 minutes gone.
Leroy Millar rolled the ball across the face of goal for Lee Bonis, who got the ball stuck under his feet at the front post.
The striker recovered, however, to lay it back to Millar who saw his shot turned on to the crossbar from Nathan Gartside, only for Paul O’Neill to react the quickest and poke home from a yard out.
Cliftonville’s night took a turn for the worse five minutes into the second half when they were reduced to 10 men.
Teenager Sean Moore received his marching orders for what referee Steven Gregg deemed a reckless challenge for high feet when challenging former team-mate Aaron Donnelly.
Ironically, after this the game began to open up as Cliftonville pushed further on more with 10 men, with the visitors introducing all-time leading goalscorer Joe Gormley.
With 20 minutes left Larne added their second. Leroy Millar won the ball on the edge of the box and, despite protests that it was a foul referee Gregg played on, with Paul O’Neill slipping the ball to Lee Bonis who rifled home his first league goal of the season.
Larne went for the juggler almost from kick-off and pushed forward with O’Neill again supplying his strike partner. This time Bonis saw his first effort blocked by Gartside before he swept home the ball home from close range.
Incredibly his hat-trick was complete in the 76th minute. Larne piled forward in numbers again and Randall found himself in space on the right to drill low and hard and Gartside. He palmed the effort back into the box and Bonis made no mistake to wrap up the scoring in an emphatic victory.
Larne: Ferguson, Want, Sule, Randall (’78 Kearns), O’Neill (’78 Kelly), Bonis (’81 Lusty), Doherty (’78 Scott), Donnelly, Bolger, Millar, Cosgrove
Unused subs: McIntyre, Hutchison, Hughes
Cliftonville: Gartside, Addis, Gallagher (’45 Casey), Rory Hale (’45 C Curran), R Curran, McDonagh (’64 Gormley), Lowe, Doherty, Turner, Ronan Hale, Moore
Unused: Talley, Robinson, Storey, Coates
Referee: Steven Gregg