By Peter Wilson
Larne were left frustrated by a well-drilled Dungannon side who helped ensure the game would finish in a goalless stalemate.
The Invermen came into the game on the back of a 4-1 win away to Institute last week while the Swifts fell to a 4-0 defeat at home to Cliftonville, however there no signs of such a goal glut in this game.
The first half should have yielded a lead for the home side but it remained level only through sheer luck and some great goalkeeping from Sam Johnston.
Larne almost took the lead after just 11 minutes as Dylan King almost knocked the ball into his own net but his blushes were spared as Sam Johnston produced a super reflex save before Marty Donnelly’s follow-up header rebounded off the crossbar.
Meanwhile for Dungannon, Seanan Clucas knocked the ball down to Kris Lowe from a corner on 21 who somehow didn’t score from six yards out.
Larne had two great chances just after half an hour, Donnelly released McMurray down the right hand side with Johnston once again pulling off another superb reflex save to deny him from a tight angle.
On 35 minutes, Randall played a brilliant ball over the top to McMurray who just failed to contact at full stretch, before Donnelly’s attempted lob was well saved by Johnston on the stroke of half-time.
Just after the break, the hosts failed to put the Swifts under pressure at the back as an attack involving Fuad Sule, Cosgrove and McMurray eventually ended with Ben Tilney’s tame shot failing to trouble Johnston in the Dungannon goal.
In the space of six second half minutes, the Inver Reds missed two further opportunities to nudge their way in front as Cosgrove swept a ball in from the left flank but substitute David McDaid could only head the ball wide.
Meanwhile, a long throw into the box from the right by Tilney only resulted in McMurray dragging his shot wide of the mark.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, Ryan Waide pounced on a misplaced pass in the middle of park and took a run at goal but placed the ball wide of the target.
A free-kick whipped into the area by Conor McKendry deep into stoppage time was laid off by marksman McMurray to skipper Albert Watson who skied over from close range.
Dungannon will be glad of the point but for Larne, it feels like a missed opportunity.
Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Watson (c), McEleney, Sule, Randall (McKendry 81), Donnelly (Hughes 77), Tilney, Lynch (McDaid 58), Cosgrove, McMurray
Unused Subs: Pauley, Kelly, Graham, Andrade
Dungannon Swifts: Johnston, Redman, Wilson, King, Clucas (c), Oisin Smyth, Teggart, Patton, Lowe, Carvill, Waide (Taylor 80)
Unused subs: Byrne, Coyle, Gallagher, Campbell, Odhran Smyth, Devlin
Man of the Match: Albert Watson
Referee: Arnold Hunter
Photograph: Bill Guiller