Tobermore and Larne shared eight goals at Fortwilliam Park on Saturday but it was a game Larne certainly could and should have won.
Hero for the Reds was captain Paul Maguire who bagged a hat-trick; his third an absolute cracker. At the other end of the pitch, however, slack defending was to prove the visitors’ downfall as the home side were gifted a couple of goals.
Manager Graham McConnell was happy to look at the positives: “It was about two teams at the bottom of the league, and with so many walking wounded out there the players gave it everything. It was disappointing, obviously, to score four away from home and not win, but I would have taken a point before the game.”
Maguire put Larne in front on 10 minutes with a typical opportunist strike. Neil Lamont levelled things up for United, before William Wharry restored the Larne lead with a screamer just before the break.
Lamont squared things up again early in the second session, and Ryan Doherty then put United in front for the first time.
Larne battled back and within three minutes Maguire had levelled again. The goal-fest continued three minutes later when a spectacular overhead kick from Maguire gave Larne the edge again.
But within two minutes Tobermore took advantage of the space they were afforded as Ryan Winton fired home. Larne had chances to grab the points late on but Maguire and Liam Carland couldn’t provide the finish.
Larne: Morley-Hillen, C. Todd, Young, McAllister, Carland, Workman, Irvine, S. Todd, Maguire, Wharry, Simms. Subs: Beggs (Young), Donnelly, McClean (Workman), McGinley, Gibbons.
Report by Paul Campbell.