Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
Larne were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Institute, with nothing to separate the teams after 90 minutes.
A 18th minute Joe McCready penalty was cancelled out by Marty Donnelly’s 23rd minute equaliser, but despite the best efforts of the Invermen, they had to settle for a point.
The hosts could have been ahead after just two minutes as Fuad Sule crashed the ball against the crossbar from 20 yards, from Mark Randall’s lay-off.
However, despite the home side’s early pressure, Institute were awarded a penalty on 18 minutes after McCready was tugged down inside the box by Shane McEleney. The marksman coolly slotted the subsequent spot-kick into the bottom left corner.
The lead lasted just five minutes as Sean Graham made a winding run into the Stute penalty area, fed the ball through to Johnny McMurray who laid off to Donnelly to curl the ball sweetly beyond the reach of Rory Brown.
Both sides had a couple of decent chances during the remaining 20 minutes or so of the first period.
First Conor Tourish’s long-range free-kick stung the palms of Conor Devlin as he tipped it over five minutes after the equaliser.
Meanwhile, for Larne, Donnelly did well to dance round a couple of Institute defenders near the byline on 39 minutes, before squaring to David McDaid in the box who could only sky over from eight yards out.
Then two minutes later, Randall placed the ball through to McDaid who raced into the area before Tourish did well to cut him out with a fine sliding block of his shot.
In a rather low key second half, the home side continued to push for a winning goal.
The only real effort of note from the Inver Reds was a missed free-header by Harry Flowers at the near post from a Lee Lynch corner 11 minutes from time.
The draw brings Larne’s run of four consecutive defeats in all competitions to an end, but Tiernan Lynch’s charges will be left disappointed with this result, where a lack of a clinical edge may have cost them again.
The result did however see them leapfrog Ballymena United into sixth place, with the two sides meeting at the Showgrounds next week.
Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, McEleney (Lynch 64), Sule, Randall (Watson 45), McDaid (c), Donnelly, Graham (Tilney 65), Cosgrove, McMurray
Unused Subs: Mitchell, Ramsey, McKendry, Gilmour
Institute: R. Brown, Morrow (Leppard 90+3), C. McLaughlin, Bonner, Curry (c), Grace, Tourish, G. Brown (B. McLaughlin 57), McCauley, McCready, Crown (McNamee 69)
Unused subs: Wells, McIntyre, McGurk, Bradley
Man of the Match: Marty Donnelly
Referee: Lee Tavinder
It’s over Shane’s Hill next for Larne as they face Ballymena United away at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Saturday 2 November (3pm).