Larne claim spoils in East Antrim derby

Carrick Rangers 1-2 Larne

Andy Ryan celebrates scoring the third en route to a 4-1 victory. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press. Andy Ryan was on the scoresheet once more this afternoon.

IT’S as you were at the top of the table after Larne held on for victory away to Carrick Rangers in the East Antrim derby.

Goals either side of half-time from Leroy Millar and Andy Ryan sealed an away victory for Tiernan Lynch’s men, despite Curtis Allen’s late goal to set-up a grandstand finish.

However, the Invermen held on to stay one point behind Linfield, with the two sides meeting at Inver Park on Saturday. There was a late change to the Larne line-up, with Sean Graham ruled out through injury in the warm-up and replaced by Kieran Lloyd, the man on-loan from Wigan Athletic.

On a heavy pitch both teams took a while to get into their stride in this game. Larne began to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, but it took until 27 minutes for the game’s opening goal to arrive.

On the left flank Aaron Donnelly floated the ball into the box where Leroy Millar took the ball down before turning past the Ben Buchanan-Rolleston and finishing strongly with his right foot past Ross Glendinning, from 10 yards out.

Larne took control of the game for the rest of the half and came close to doubling their lead 10 minutes later.

Andy Ryan cut in from the right flank before narrowly flashing a low effort just the wrong side of Glendinning’s left-hand post.

The home side started the second half strongly in an attempt to stamp their authority on the game.

They came close to doing just that twice in the space of five minutes, when Kurtis Forsythe shot just over the crossbar, before Danny Purkis clipped the bar with an effort from a David Cushley through ball.

Despite this, it was Larne who doubled their lead with 14 minutes left on the clock, with Millar this time the provider.

From a throw-in close to the corner flag the Larne skipper turned sharply to give himself time to cross the front post, where Andy Ryan showed a goalscorer’s instinct to get across his man and the slide the ball over the line.

Within two minutes Carrick were back in the game. Cameron Stewart’s towering header from a deep free-kick allowed the experienced striker to bring the ball down and round Rohan Ferguson before slotting into an empty net.

Albert Watson got on the end of a free-kick late on as he almost his former employers, but they held on to claim the points in the end.

Carrick Rangers: Ross Glendinning, Forsythe, Stewart, Watson, Gordon, Cushley, Allen, Buchanan-Rolleston, Crowe (’90 Mitchell), Purkis, Tilney

Subs: McCauley, Surgenor, Montgomery, Andrews, Withers, Reece Glendinning

Larne: Ferguson, Donnelly, Farquhar, Thomson (’82 Gordon), Bonis, Ives, Millar, Cosgrove, Lloyd, Ryan, Orozco

Subs: Dowling, Randall, O’Neill, Glynn, McCart

Referee: Ben McMaster