By Peter Wilson
Larne earned a narrow 2-1 away win in a scrappy but tense derby against Carrick Rangers.
A Johnny McMurray opener was cancelled out by Caolan Loughran’s free-kick, before Mark Randall scored a late free-kick of his own to win the game for Larne.
The game wasn’t without controversy, as a foul on Fuad Sule by Mark Surgenor resulted in a melee during first half stoppage time, which saw the home midfielder booked.
It was Carrick Rangers who had the first effort on goal as Caolan Loughran placed a free kick from 25 yards wide, four minutes in.
Yet it was the visitors who went ahead after a quarter of an hour, when Mark Randall a ball out to Tomas Cosgrove on the right flank, and he crossed for Johnny McMurray to head in from close range.
On 24, Fuad Sule played in Lee Lynch but Aaron Hogg remained composed to deny the midfielder 13 yards from goal.
It was just two minutes later when Loughran put his team back on level terms as his sweetly struck free kick from just outside the area took a deflection by ricocheting in off the right post.
Only 13 seconds into the second half, McMurray had a stab at goal from long range with his effort swivelling just wide of the post.
On 65 minutes, Reece Neale whipped a corner from the right but Conor Devlin punched clear. William Faulkner then blazed over from outside the box.
The winning goal came 12 minutes from time as Randall restored Larne’s lead, when he slammed his free kick from distance in off the underside of the crossbar.
The result saw Larne maintain their 100% start to the season, with Ballymena United up next, at Inver Park on Saturday (3pm).
Carrick Rangers: Hogg, Neale, Surgenor, Loughran, Chapman, Faulkner, M. Kelly (Gray 78), D. Kelly (Rodgers 8), Nixon, Ferrin, Smith
Unused subs: McAuley, Carson, Magill, McDermott, , Anderson
Larne: Devlin, Kelly, Watson, McEleney, Sule, Randall (Hassin 88), McDaid, Lynch (Donnelly 71), Graham, Cosgrove, McMurray (Stewart 74)
Unused subs: Mitchell, Ramsey, Tilney, Andrade
Referee: Steven Gregg