Slow start sees Larne fall to Bannsiders defeat at Inver

Jan 27, 2021 | Archive

TWO goals in the opening 10 minutes from Coleraine proved enough for the visitors to secure victory at Inver Park on Tuesday evening.

A headed goal from Albert Watson 14 minutes from time gave the home side hope, but they failed to salvage anything out of the game late one.

The first major incident of the game arrived with just five minutes on the clock. Jamie Glackin’s searching cross from the left flank travelled the width of the home penalty area towards Lyndon Kane at the back post and the full-back went down under pressure from Ronan Hale, with referee Shane Andrews pointing to the penalty spot.

Stephen Lowry then stepped up and drove his effort low and hard down the middle, with the ball finding the way into the top corner via Conor Devlin’s legs.

Four minutes later a bad start turned into a terrible one for the home side.

Fuad Sule played the ball inside to central defender Albert Watson and, with later danger on, Watson tried to turn inside only for James McLaughlin to rob him of the ball 35 yards from goal.

It left the striker a clear run on goal and he calmly slotted the ball under Devlin as he entered the area.

Larne eventually settled into the game later in the first half and had a chance to pull one back 10 minutes before the break. Mark Randall’s inviting chipped pass into the area was met by the arriving Tomas Cosgrove but he couldn’t generate the power to stab the ball past Gareth Deane.

Club captain Jeff Hughes was one of two changes from Tiernan Lynch at the break as he looked to inject some urgency into the home side’s play.

However, it took until just after the hour mark for them to fashion a meaningful opportunity. 

Hughes, striding forward from left back, fed the ball into Marty Donnelly, who had just been introduced from the bench, and his cross was met by fellow substitute Johnny McMurray, but he couldn’t keep his header down.

At this point the visitors were sitting deeper, able to rely on the cushion of the two-goal lead.

This invited Larne to be more adventurous and that they were, eventually reducing the arrears with 16 minutes left to play.

Johnny McMurray sprung the offside trap on the right-hand side and his shot from a tight angle was saved by Deane, with Kane clearing for a corner.

From the resulting set piece on the left flank, Albert Watson rose highest to power home John Herron’s inswinging corner kick from a few yards out.

The Invermen came within a whisker of bringing the match level on 81 minutes, with a chance that was all Johnny McMurray’s own making.

The big striker received the ball on the edge of the box, he took a touch on his thigh before unleashing an acrobatic effort which came crashing off the top of the crossbar and away to safety.

Larne’s penalty claims late on were waved away by Shane Andrews, after McMurray went down inside the box with Coleraine seeing the game out for their fifth victory in a row.

Larne: Devlin, Kelly, Watson, Robinson, Sule, Herron, Randall (McMurray ’45), A Mitchell (Hughes ’45), Hale (Donnelly ’59), McDaid, Cosgrove

Unused subs: C Mitchell, Scott, Wade Slater, Jarvis

Coleraine: Deane, Kane, Traynor, McConaghie, O’Donnell, Canning, Lowry, Jarvis (Carson ’75), Glackin, McLaughlin (Bradley ’75), Nixon (Parkhill ’84)

Unused subs: Gallagher, Wilson, Allen, Beverland

Referee: Shane Andrews

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