Report: Peter Wilson
Photo: Bill Guiller
Larne made it two wins from two in the Danske Bank Premiership as they narrowly defeated Carrick Rangers 2-1 at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena. Despite a late Caolan Loughran spot kick for the home side, a penalty from Andy Mitchell and a Mark Randall header was enough to secure victory for the Invermen.
Both sides started off brightly but it was Larne who had the first chance on nine minutes as Andy Mitchell whipped in a corner from the right and the unmarked Albert Watson got on the end of it but hooked just wide into the side-netting.
On 10 minutes, Caolan Loughran struck a good free-kick for the hosts from 25 yards out, but Conor Devlin did well to gather.
The Invermen thought they had opened the scoring five minutes from the break when Jeff Hughes crossed into Ronan Hale in the box and the forward stooped low to nod past Aaron Hogg but it was offside.
Around two minutes later, Davy McDaid was brought down in the box and Mitchell converted from the spot despite Hogg getting a hand to it.
Half-time: Carrick Rangers 0 Larne 1
Larne got off to a very fast start in the second half, right from kick-off Fuad Sule drove forward into the box and threaded the ball through to McDaid who almost scored from close range but he was thwarted by some great goalkeeping from Aaron Hogg.
On 51 minutes, Conor Devlin superbly clawed Lloyd Anderson’s header away from the top left corner to keep the Invermen in the lead.
With 59 minutes gone, Loughran then hit a 20-yard free-kick low but Devlin did well to push it away.
With the game still in the balance in the closing stages of the game it was substitute Mark Randall who helped settle Larne nerves. With eight minutes left on the clock, Marty Donnelly fed a pinpoint free-kick into the box and Randall headed the ball home to make it 2-0.
Two minutes later though and Randall foul on Lloyd Anderson gave the home side a chance to reduce the arrears. They did exactly that, with Loughran tucking away the resulting penalty.
However, Larne held on for all three points and a victory in the first derby of the season.
Full-time: Carrick Rangers 1 Larne 2
Carrick Rangers: Hogg, Neale, Rodgers, Loughran, Chapman, Frazer (Tully 74’), Kelly (c) (Cherry 85’), Ferrin, Smith (Fearon 66’), Gibson, Anderson
Unused Subs: McKinty, Gordon, Colligan, Glendinning
Larne: Devlin, Watson, Robinson, Sule, Hale (Scott 69’), McDaid, Donnelly (Herron 88’), A Mitchell (Randall 60’), Cosgrove, Hughes (c), Jarvis
Unused Subs: C Mitchell, Kelly, Lynch, Wade Slater
Referee: Evan Boyce
Larne are next in action when they take on Ballymena United in the Danske Bank Premiership at Inver Park on Saturday 31 October (3pm).