Honours even in clash with league leaders

Nov 24, 2019 | Archive

By Peter Wilson

Larne were held to a 1-1 draw at home to league leaders Cliftonville in a close game at Inver Park.

Gary Breen’s own goal was cancelled out by Joe Gormley’s thumping leveller, on the 30 minute mark.

Despite efforts by both sides to snatch the winner, both had to settle for a share of the points, in the end.

Cliftonville had an early chance courtesy of Conor McDermott’s fizzing strike but it cannoned off the base of the post, in the third minute.

Larne also went close just after a quarter of an hour was gone, when Marty Donnelly crossed in from the right but Johnny McMurray’s glancing header edged wide of the post.

Larne’s opener arrived in what were unfortunate circumstances for Cliftonville as on 19 minutes, defender Gary Breen heading the ball into his own net from a teasing left-wing cross from David McDaid.

The equaliser from the Reds was emphatic 11 minutes later, as Joe Gormley latched onto Breen’s long ball before he duly lashed into the roof of the net past Conor Devlin from an acute angle.

Just before half time, the ball broke for Harry Flowers who weaved round two Cliftonville players before unleashing an effort from 25 yards that stung the palms of Richard Brush.

Ryan Curran could have given the visitors the lead on the stroke of half time but his back-post header from a McDermott cross was wide of the mark.

In the second half, chances were scarce for either side but when they did come, they were worth the wait.

Just after the hour mark, McDaid controlled the ball well in the box, under pressure from his marker, and rounded Brush but blasted wide.

On 74, Gormley forced a smart save from Devlin as he used his feet to deny the striker who was in on goal.

The result leaves Larne in sixth place in the table and extends their unbeaten run to five games.

Up next for the Inver Reds is a trip to the National Stadium at Windsor Park on Saturday 30 November. Kick off is 3pm.

Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Ramsey, Randall, McDaid, Donnelly, Lynch, Hughes (c), McMurray

Unused subs: Mitchell, Tilney, McKendry, Andrade, Barrons, Gilmour, Harrison

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Breen, McKee (R. Donnelly 50), Harney, C. Curran, R. Curran, Bagnall, Doherty, Gormley (McMenamin 76), A. Donnelly

Unused subs: Dunne, Foster, Wilson, Maguire, Gorman

Man of the Match: Albert Watson

Referee: Jamie Robinson

Photograph: Bill Guiller

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