Report & photograph by Sam Johnston
Larne Ladies continued their preparation for a return to competitive football with an encouraging performance against derby rivals Ballymena United, who ran out 3-1 winners at Inver Park.
The home side began the game well and it was the hosts who came knocking on Ballymena’s door first, with Kylie Doherty creating two very promising chances but both were flagged for offside.
After a slow start for the visitors they got the opening goal of the game as Rachel Fulton won the ball in the middle of the park and beat the Larne defence to score from range and make it 1-0.
It didn’t take long for Larne to get one back as midfielder Rebecca Boyce grabbed one back against her former club. On rushing Ballymena ‘keeper Ciera McCoy Thompson was chipped from range and, despite the attempts of Ballymena defenders to keep the ball out, it found its way into the back of the net.
Larne almost took the lead in the last minute of the first half, with Elle Houston crossing for teenager Francesca Agnew, but her shot was just wide of the post leaving the scores level at the half-time break.
Ballymena reclaimed their lead early in the second half when Marion Gage lost possession in midfield and Beth Hunter raced through on goal to chip Larne ‘keeper Leanne Glass and make it 2-1
It didn’t take long for the Sky Blues to double their advantage when Laura McKillion’s shot from range found the back of the net, despite Larne’s keeper Leanne Glass making her best efforts to save.
In the dying minutes of the game the Inver Women had one last attack which they won a corner from. Elle Houston’s set piece was cleared as far as Francesca Agnew, but her shot was just over the bar after beating two defenders.
An encouraging side for the home side was Abbie Quinn, from Larne Youth, making her debut for the senior side.
Larne Olympic, meanwhile were held by Carnmoney in a very competitive game. Both teams had an even amount of chances throughout, but defences were solid and players couldn’t break through to leave it scoreless at full-time.
It was an important day for Rebekah Hastings, Hannah Massey and Jayne Robinson from Larne Youth, who made their debuts for Larne Ladies Olympic.