O’Neill double as Larne come from behind to sink Dungannon

Nov 19, 2022 | First Team

Two second half goals helped Larne come from behind to defeat Dungannon Swifts and build on their lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

Ryan Mayse gave the visitors the lead just before the break, but Larne kept their composure to fight back in the second half.

The two sides came into the game having just 10 days ago at the same venue.

Larne ran out comfortable 4-0 winners on that occasion, adding further woe to the team with the second worst defensive record in the league, having shipped 39 goals in their 15 Premiership outings coming into this one.

The game started like one which wouldn’t be short of goalmouth action and it was the Swifts who could have gone in front after just four minutes.

Rhyss Campbell cut through the Larne defence, before clipping the outside of the post of the right-hand post, with Larne goalkeeper Jack McIntyre stranded.

Larne responded well at the other end, with Leroy Millar and Lee Bonis combining well before the latter drew a good save out of Declan Dunne from a tight angle inside the box.

Despite their league position Dungannon continued look dangerous in the opening exchanges and were frustrated they didn’t take the lead with 13 minutes gone. James Knowles swung in a dangerous free-kick from the right and Caolon Marron was denied by a good save from McIntyre.

After a lively start, the game turned a little bit scrappy. Paul O’Neill failed to get telling touch on a sumptuous Mark Randall cross and Ben Doherty curled wide from just inside the box.

Larne began to get into their groove more as the half wore on and O’Neill came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock nine minute from the break, but steered his header just wide of the far post from Leroy Millar’s right-wing cross.

Five minutes before the break, Leroy Millar got in behind the Swifts defence, but his low shot was well saved by Dunne and the ball spun on to the bar and over for a corner.

Against the run of play Dungannon took the lead with a minute of the half remaining.

From a long ball over the top Larne goalkeeper Jack McIntyre raced out of his box. He attempted to control the ball, only to be robbed by Michael O’Connor, with the ball dropping to Ryan Mayse, who finished into an empty net from all of 40 yards.

Stung by going behind Larne began the second half with purpose and were level within five minutes.

From a good move down the left, Bonis pulled the ball back to Leroy Millar, with his shot saved by Dunne, Paul O’Neill was on home to slam home the rebound.

O’Neill should really have had his second of the night 10 minutes later, when Mark Randall slipped the striker clear in the box, but he shot straight at the legs of former Cliftonville team-mate Dunne.

Much like the first half, the chances began to dry up as Dungannon continued to compete well.

It looked like the game could well be heading for a draw, which the visitors were well worth at this point.

However, with eight minutes on the clock a piece of brilliance from Ben Doherty helped to spark the home side.

The former Coleraine man turned on the pace to race down the left flank and showed great composure once inside the box to slide the ball across the face of goal for O’Neill to tap Larne into the lead.

Doherty almost got on to the scoresheet himself four minutes later, but was denied by a superb save from Dunne, low down to his right.

Larne: McIntyre, Want, Randall (’87 Sule), O’Neill, Bonis, Doherty, Donnelly, Gordon, Bolger, Millar, Cosgrove

Unused subs: Ferguson, Kelly, Kearns, Scott, Hughes, Sloan

Dungannon Swifts: Dunne, Scott (’88 Walsh), Marron, Knowles, Mayse (’88 Cushnie), McCready (’88 Gallagher), O’Connor, Campbell, Barr (’88 Bruna), McGee (’57 McGinty), Animasahun

Unused subs: Groogan, Breen

Referee: Ben McMaster

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