Invermen close gap at the top with Blues win

Sep 16, 2023 | All News

PHOTO: Pacemaker

LARNE closed the gap on the teams at the top of the table with a 2-0 win at home to Linfield on Friday evening.

A goal in either half from Paul O’Neill and Andy Ryan secured the win as Larne moved up to third place in the table.

The home side started brightly and could have taken the lead with less than a minute gone. 

Levi Ives whipped in a corner from the left flank which Craig Farquhar could only steer wide of Chris Johns’ far post. 

Tiernan Lynch’s men did take the lead just eight minutes later, however, and it all came about after some great work from Tomas Cosgrove. 

The former Cliftonville man picked up the ball on the right flank before creating a yard of space for himself to whip in a cross which was asking to be finished, which Paul O’Neill duly did with a controlled volley from eight yards out. 

Larne were well on top in the opening exchanges and could have doubled their lead on 26 minutes. 

From Leroy Millar’s cross on the right, Dylan Sloan chested the ball down 12 yards out but shot just over. 

Linfield came into the contest as the half wore on and had a good chance to level 10 minutes before the break. 

Joel Cooper dispossessed Aaron Donnelly deep in the Larne half and slipped in strike partner Chris McKee, but goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson was quickly off his line to keep out with his feet.  

Two minutes later and David Healy’s men really should have been level. 

Both Cooper and McKee kept themselves onside from Jack Scott’s right flank cross and with a goal at their mercy Cooper stooped to head against the post before McKee blazed over the rebound, which left the striker with his head in his hands. 

The rain continued to come down in the second half and it took until the 63rd minute for the next chance to arrive. Kyle McClean whipped in a free-kick from the right, and Chris McKee’s header was superbly kept out by Rohan Ferguson.

It was to prove a costly miss, with Larne doubling their lead within a minute. 

There was seemingly little danger with Linfield in possession on the edge of their own box, but Ben Hall was caught in possession by Andy Ryan and the deadly striker made no mistake rifling into the bottom right corner. 

Both sides made a number of changes after this, as Linfield aimed to get back into the game and Larne looked to consolidate what they had. 

However, the game petered out as Larne kept their third clean sheet on the bounce. 

Larne: Ferguson, Donnelly, Farquhar, O’Neill (’73 Bonis), Ives (’82 Graham), Bolger, Millar, Cosgrove, Sloan (’82 Thomson), Ryan (‘90+2 Allan), Orozco 

Unused subs: Dowling, Kearns, Lloyd 

Linfield: Johns, Finlayson, Newberry (’69 Fallon), Shields, Scott, McClean, Cooper, Hall (’69 East), Clarke (’80 McKay), McKee, Mulgrew (’69 Fitzpatrick) 

Subs: Walsh, Robertson, Archer

Referee: Ben McMaster

Other News