Ballyclare Comrades edged to a 3-2 win in an entertaining derby against Larne on Tuesday night and on the balance of play the fully deserved the three points.
Twice Stephen Hughes’ side were pegged back but in the end they showed they wanted it more than the visitors.
The hosts had the early pressure and took the lead after only six minutes. The ball was worked down the right and crossed into the feet of Denver Taggart who beat Billy Brennan from close range.
Another quick break saw Taggart again get in behind the Larne defence but Brennan saved well.
A Ciaran Murray corner at the other end saw Colin Nixon get a header on target but it was hooked off the line.
Adam Calvert then wasted a good chance for Larne before Davy McAlinden’s men levelled after 21 minutes. Murray’s corner was driven to the back post for Nixon to produce an acrobatic scissor kick to find the net.
The home side again threatened at the start of the second half. Michael O’Hanlon cut the ball back to Jason Johnston who shot inches over the top.
The Comrades to control again after 65 minutes. A well-struck free-kick from Mark Shannon rattled the woodwork and first to react was Gary Brown who bundled the ball home.
The goal forced a reaction from the visitors and eight minutes later it was all square again. A long ball down the middle was chased down by Guillaume Keke who rounded former Larne stopper Paddy Flood to find the net.
It was now game on and it was the home side who snatched the winner 13 minutes from time.
A corner from the right wasn’t dealt with and Chris Trussell’s header was only partially cleared. The ball broke to Stuart McCullough who guided it home.
Stuart McMullan saw a late header cleared off the line but it was the home side who grabbed three valuable points.
BALLYCLARE COMRADES: Flood, Woods, Shannon, Johnstone, McCullough, McCart, O’Hanlon, Dobbin, Trussell, Brown (McClurg 88), Taggart (Haskins 35). Subs not used: Simpson, McQuitty, Hill.
LARNE: Brennan, Rodgers, Calvert (Robinson 68), Nixon, McMullan, Irvine, McGrandless (Donnelly 62), Murray, Maguire, Keke, McIlveen Subs not used: McGonnell, Stitt.