Clinical Invermen to the four as they march into Shield semis

Oct 14, 2020 | Archive

Larne showed their clinical edge to record a 4-0 win at home to Crusaders and progress into the semi-finals of the County Antrim Shield.

Two goals just before the break, and two shortly after the half-time interval got Tiernan Lynch’s men what they needed.

Both sides made a handful of changes each from their Shield outings on Saturday, but it was a player who had already made his debut for the visitors who came closest to opening the scoring on 15 minutes.

Jordan Forsythe did well to make time for himself on the right flank and his cross was headed inches wide by recent signing Adam Lecky.

Despite Crusaders starting the game well and on the front foot, it was Larne who were next to threaten midway through the half. Mark Randall’s side-footed effort, a Marty Donnelly corner was stopped on the line by a combination of goalkeeper Ger Doherty and two of his defenders.

The opening goal arrived seven minutes before the break, with an exquisite finish from Marty Donnelly.

Former Crusaders forward Ronan Hale saw his initial acrobatic effort blocked on the edge of the box and the ball broke to Donnelly. The little winger took a touch before despatching it into the top left corner, leaving Doherty no chance.

The second arrived on 43 minutes, this time Mark Randall’s inswinging corner from the left was met by the head of Albert Watson, who nodded it in at the back post.

Despite the introduction of Paul Heatley from the bench at half-time, things got worse for the Crues when Mark Randall was upended in the box.

After waving away initial protests referee Tony Clarke pointed to the spot. Another former Crusaders player, Andy Mitchell, slotted home the resulting spot kick to make it 3-0 on 48 minutes.

Three minutes later and Larne continued to run amok. This time Marty Donnelly turned provider and his slide rule pass set Ronan Hale away inside the box, with the former firing across Doherty for number four.

The closest the visitors came to pulling a goal back was, with 18 minutes left on the clock, Ross Clarke cut in from the right flank and left fly from 25 yards, but his drive came back off the base of the post.

Cosgrove brought a good save from Doherty late on, but they held on comfortably for the win.

Larne: Devlin, Kelly, Watson, Robinson, Sule, Randall (Herron ’74), Hale (’80 McDaid), Donnelly (’90 Murr), A Mitchell, Wade-Slater, Cosgrove

Unused subs: C Mitchell, Lynch, Hughes

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