Irish Premiership 
August 7, 2023, 7:45 pm
4 - 4
Dungannon Swifts
Inver Park
Attendance: 2176
First Team
Referee: Shane Andrews

Match Report

Larne were forced to make do with a point in the opening night of the Sports Direct Premiership.

Dungannon Swifts produced a remarkable late comeback to secure a 4-4 draw, having been trailing 4-1 at Inver Park with just over five minutes of normal time remaining.

Going into the game boss Tiernan Lynch handed a first Inver Park appearance to Levi Ives and the former Cliftonville man would go on to have a big say as the deadlock was broken on 29 minutes.

He whipped in a delicious cross from just outside the box on the left and it was met at the back post by Tomas Cosgrove who headed back across goal and into the bottom corner.

The lead only lasted for five minutes, however. Joe Moore nipped in to steal the ball after a heavy Aaron Donnelly touch outside the box and the pacy winger raced clear before producing a clinical low finish past Rohan Ferguson.

Larne, however, restored their lead six minutes into the second half through a young player who has enjoyed a breakthrough summer at the club.

Tomas Cosgrove did brilliantly to burst into the box from the right wing and cut the ball back for Dylan Sloan, an Academy graduate who started all four European games, who took a touch before drilling low into the bottom left corner for his first goal for the club.

Just after the hour mark Cosgrove came within a whisker of adding his second when he again drove into the box and curled a low effort just wide of the far post with the outside of his right boot.

Leroy Millar then came close to wrapping up the points with 72 minutes gone, but his point-blank header from a Levi Ives corner was well kept out by Declan Dunne.

The home side then added to their lead with 13 minutes remaining. Lee Bonis picked the ball up on the left flank and picked out strike partner Andy Ryan inside the box and he fired home from 10 yards out.

In a dominant spell Larne then made it 4-1 two minutes later, in impressive fashion. From a Dungannon corner, Larne broke quickly through Andy Ryan, who this time found Lee Bonis just inside the Swifts half and he lobbed Dunne with an impressive volley from almost 40 yards.

The best goal of the night came as Dungannon grabbed what looked like a consolation five minutes from time. Substitute Ben Gallagher picked up the ball 30 yards out from goal and took a couple of touches before arrowing a shot into the top corner past a helpless Ferguson.

There was still time for further drama two minutes from time when Rohan Ferguson came to the edge of his own box to clear the danger. However, the ball landed to substitute Tomas Galvin who produced a cool finish to loft into an empty net.

The comeback was complete five minutes into stoppage time when experienced substitute  Andy Whiteside steered a header from a corner to earn a share of the spoils and cap an impressive fightback.

Larne: Ferguson, Want, Donnelly, Farquhar, Bonis (’82 O’Neill), Ives, Thomson, Millar (’82 Westendorf), Cosgrove, Sloan (’66 Gordon), Ryan (’82 Smith)

Unused subs: Dowling, Kearns, Glynn

Dungannon Swifts: Dunne, McGee, Curry, Marron (’78 Whiteside), Hegarty, Owens (J Scott), Devine (’66 Gallagher), Dillon (’78 Knowles), S Scott (’82 Galvin), Moore, McGinty

Unused subs: Ritchie, Glenny