Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
Larne played out a goalless stalemate in an evenly poised Boxing Day derby with Carrick Rangers at Inver Park.
Larne came into the game on the back of a gritty 2-0 away win over Warrenpoint Town last Saturday and the Invermen began brightly with a good opportunity opening up after just six minutes. After some good movement on the left channel, Lee Lynch linked up with Graham Kelly who drove the ball across goal but David McDaid was unable to get on the end of it, with the linesman having his flag up.
Carrick first threatened on the 15th minute mark, when Lloyd Anderson was poised to score just eight yards from goal but Conor Devlin made a sensational save to keep him out.
The next chance of note for the home side arrived on 23 minutes when Lynch cut in from the left-hand side but his shot was comfortably held by Aaron Hogg.
With nine minutes to go until the break, dangerman Anderson got in behind the Larne rear-guard but dragged his low shot wide of the right-hand post and so both teams went in all square at the interval.
Larne were quick out of the traps after the break as Ben Tilney’s low teasing cross from the left was met by Marty Donnelly at the back post but his headed effort bounced off the ground and over the bar.
The next half hour was relatively quiet at both ends of the pitch before on 76 minutes, McDaid weaved through a sea of Carrick bodies in the area but his low effort was blocked by Hogg.
Despite a frantic final quarter of an hour and four minutes of stoppage time, nothing came the way of either side and both left Inver Park with a point apiece.
Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Watson, Kelly, McEleney, Randall, McDaid, Donnelly, Tilney (McMurray 61), Lynch, Hughes
Unused Subs: Ramsey, Sule, McKendry, Graham, Mitchell, Gilmour
Carrick Rangers: Hogg, Neale, Surgenor, Rodgers, Loughran, Chapman, Kelly, Smith, Cherry, Keke (McGreevy ’69), Anderson (Faulkner ’68)
Unused Subs: McAuley, Carson, Hassin, Doyle, Kalla
Man of the Match: Albert Watson
Referee: Keith Kennedy
It’s a quick turnaround for the Invermen as they welcome Cliftonville to Inver Park on Saturday 28 December at 3pm.
Photo: Bill Guiller