Larne suffered a last gasp 2-1 defeat at Portadown on Tuesday night, despite dominating much of the night as well having the opportunities in front of goal to leave with all three points.
The defeat saw Tiernan Lynch’s men miss out on the chance to close the gap on the top three ahead of Friday’s trip to the Oval to take on second-placed Glentoran.
Larne started well and could well have taken the lead after just six minutes, but Dean Jarvis couldn’t keep his header on target, from a Marty Donnelly free-kick, despite escaping the attention of the Portadown defence.
It was the home side who took the lead with an eye-catching effort on 28 minutes. Midfielder Stephen Teggart struck a half volley from 25-yards out which nestled into the top left corner.
Shortly after this, Matthew Tipton’s side almost doubled their lead through Ben Guy, who rounded Conor Devlin well outside the box, but fired over the bar.
Larne finished the half strongly however, with Ronan Hale seeing his powerful effort from 15 yards superbly turned on to the bar by home goalkeeper Jacob Carney.
On the stroke of half-time Larne missed an even better opportunity to draw level, when Carney saved an Andrew Mitchell penalty, after Tomas Cosgrove had been fouled inside the box.
Following the half-time break Conor Mitchell came on for his first competitive action of the season, replacing the injured Conor Devlin between the posts.
Home stopper Carney was on hand to deny Hale early in the second half, coming off his line quickly to make the save after the striker had picked up a loose back pass on the edge of the box.
Larne finally did draw level when defender Josh Robinson scored from close range, after an inviting Mark Randall corner on the left.
The same source almost led to Larne taking the lead, but this time John Herron headed against the post from another Randall delivery.
Despite these opportunities, it was Portadown who grabbed the winner in stoppage time when sub Lee Bonis capitalised on a heavy touch from Mark Randall to slot home from 10 yards out.
Portadown: Carney, McCallum, Finnegan, Lavery, Murray, Croskery, Guy, Teggart, Kerr, Warde, Scannell
Subs Buchanan, Hall, Salley, Bonis, Jordan, Murphy, Baird
Larne: Devlin (C. Mitchell), Robinson, Herron, Sule, Hale, Donnelly, A. Mitchell (Randall), Wade Slater (McDaid), Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis
Unused subs: Scott, McKendry, Mottley-Henry, D’Sena
Referee: Jamie Robinson