Larne fall to narrow defeat at Solitude

Oct 13, 2019 | Archive

Larne fell to a narrow defeat away to Cliftonville; Ryan Curran’s later winner the only thing separating the sides after 90 minutes.

The defeat came only four days after the Invermen’s shock League Cup third round exit at the hands of Championship side Dundela.

Meanwhile, Shane McEleney and Johnny McMurray remain injured after coming off in recent matches.

Larne kicked off proceedings at Solitude but it was Cliftonville who had the best of the few chances in the opening 20 minutes.

First on 13, Ronan Doherty clipped the ball in from a corner on the right but after breaking free from his marker, Jamie Harney could only head the ball wide.

A golden opportunity arrived five minutes after that, as Chris Curran’s low cross fell to Joe Gormley who went for it and missed, allowing Harry Flowers to clear.

The second half began more brightly than the first with the Invermen this time having the better of the chances.

A neat breakaway down the pitch five minutes into the half saw David McDaid feed the ball inside the box to Marty Donnelly with Richard Brush doing well to come out and make the save.

The hosts had a great chance to take the lead after Albert Watson pulled down Joe Gormley in the box on 54 minutes with Gormley sending the ball well wide from the resulting penalty kick.

The visitors had two chances soon after to nip in front as Donnelly poked the ball through to Lee Lynch in the area but his effort was pushed away by Brush before Donnelly’s follow up shot was blocked and cleared by Conor McDermott.

A further two decent opportunities fell for the Reds thereafter: first a one-touch move involving Curran, Doherty and Conor McMenamin ended with McMenamin skipping past two Larne defenders before being closed down by Fuad Sule as he drove into the box.

The second came as Gormley swept the ball in from the left flank with 83 minutes gone but Ruaidhri Donnelly failed to get on the end of it.

The deadlock was at last broken with a minute left of normal time as the Larne defence failed to clear their lines as the ball fell to Ryan Curran from Seanan Foster’s wayward shot who duly lashed home from nine yards.

A disappointing end to a tight game which the Inver Reds will feel unlucky not to have got anything from.

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott (Foster 69), Breen, Harney, C. Curran (c), R. Donnelly, Bagnall, Doherty, Gormley (Gorman 90), McMenamin (R. Curran 81), A. Donnelly

Unused Subs: McKee, Wilson, Maguire, Rocks.

Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Sule (Ramsey 90), Randall (Tilney 76), McDaid, Donnelly, Lynch (McKendry 61), Cosgrove, Hughes (c)

Unused Subs: Mitchell, Andrade, Gilmour, Harrison.

Referee: Ian McNabb

Up next for Larne is a double header against Glentoran: first away on Tuesday 15 October in the County Antrim Shield (7.45pm) before a home reverse in the league on Friday 18 October (7.45pm), live on BBC2.

Photo: Bill Guiller

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