Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
LARNE strolled to a 6-0 win against Amateur League 1A winners Larne Tech OB as they continued their unbeaten run of form in their penultimate match before the start of the season.
Five different players put the ball in the back of the net including regulars Marty Donnelly, Jeff Hughes and Thomas Stewart, who scored a brace while Sean Graham and Liam Hassin got their first goals for the club during the current pre-season campaign.
The Invermen were at it right from the off as a pinpoint cross into the box from Tomas Cosgrove on the right seven minutes in allowed Marty Donnelly to get a good connection and plant a header into the bottom left hand corner.
The second arrived just six minutes later as Cosgrove skipped in and out of the defenders before laying off to Sean Graham six yards from goal, and he tucked the ball beneath Chris Keenan.
Two chances fell to and were squandered by Mark Randall in a 10 minute period as the ex-Arsenal man first sliced his shot over the bar after a little one-two with Lee Lynch and then couldn’t keep his effort from distance on target.
However it was Larne veteran Jeff Hughes who added number three on 35 as he angled his low 25 yard shot perfectly so it arrowed into the bottom left.
David McDaid should have got number four just before half time but his penalty was saved by Keenan low to his right, after Sean Graham was fouled inside the box.
The home side were at it again early in the second half; this time Donnelly picked out Thomas Stewart in area whose shot easily beat Keenan to nestle in the bottom right.
On 54 minutes, Stewart flicked in from Donnelly’s corner, after Albert Watson’s header, for 5-0.
On the hour mark, a high-tempo build up ended with substitute Liam Hassin finding the run of fellow replacement Stewart but the striker could only blaze his shot over the bar.
Hassin notched up the sixth of the evening as he turned and guided the ball gently into the bottom right with 10 minutes to go.
It could have been 7-0 83 minutes in when Randall delivered a great ball into the box over the top of the defence to Donnell, but Keenan delivered an outstretched hand to deny him at the near post.
Larne: Larne: Mitchell, Watson, Hughes, McEleney, Randall, Sule, Donnelly, Lynch, McDaid, Graham, Cosgrove
Subs: Devlin, Stewart, Gilmour, Hassin, Ramsey, Trialist
Larne Tech OB: Keenan, Hyslop, Mulvenna, McKenna, McAllister, S. Todd, 7. C. Todd, McNally, Ward, Norton, Crawford
Subs: Campbell, Quinn, McNicole, Thompson
Referee: Ken Gibbons
Up next for Larne is their final pre-season match of the campaign at home to Ballyclare Comrades on Saturday 27 July. Kick off at Inver Park is 3pm.
Photograph: Bill Guillerr