Hale comes off the bench to earn point at Showgrounds

Mar 9, 2021 | Archive

Ronan Hale came off the bench to score an important equaliser and earn Larne a point in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ballymena United.

The Invermen came into the game on the back of a three-match losing run, but started brightly and created the first opportunity on nine minutes.

Tomas Cosgrove burst forward on the right flank before pulling the ball back for Johnny McMurray, but just as he looked like he would score against his former club his goalbound effort was bravely blocked by Conor Keeley.

The home side fired a warning shot just before they opened the scoring in the 35th minute, but Joe McCready shot too close to Conor Devlin when well placed inside the box from a United counter.

They weren’t to be deterred however, and Jude Winchester had time and space to produce a wicked cross into the box from the right flank and the unfortunate Albert Watson could only stab it into his own goal from four yards out.

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch made two subs inside the space of as many minutes just before the hour mark and they were both soon involved in the action.

Firstly, a good move down the left saw Lee Lynch find space inside the box, but his half volley lacks the power to trouble Jordan Williamson.

On 68 minutes Larne did manage to level the game up. Tomas Cosgrove surged forward from his wingback slot to find himself in a central area and slotted a perfectly weighted through ball behind the United defence to find Ronan Hale and striker coolly finished past Williamson.

From here, there weren’t many clearcut chances to win it, but Larne came closest with 11 minutes left when Hale engineered space for himself on the byline, but his pull back was just beyond strike partner Davy McDaid who would have had a tap in, while Shay McCartan fired over from just inside the box.

In the end, it was honours even at the Showgrounds, a point which moved Larne back into third place in the table.


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