CHAMPIONSHIP 1: Larne 0 HW Welders 3

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Larne’s last home league game of the season proved to be a real damp squib when, apart from a promising opening five minutes, they were second best against H&W Welders.

It was end-of-season stuff from the Reds, but the players were left in no doubt by manager Davy McAlinden that the performance was not acceptable.

“The players understand where I stand and it was made very clear at half-time. The third goal really killed it for us coming so early in the second-half. It is not an excuse in any way but we had three 16-year-olds coming off the bench today and it wasn’t fair on them but it will be part of their learning experience.

“I have plans which will be put in place and believe there will be no papering over the cracks,” added McAlinden.

Had Larne taken an early chance it could have been a different outcome. There were only 20 seconds on the clock when Ross Black crossed into the box. The ball fell to Johnny McMurray three yards out, but his shot was blocked by Lee Windrum.

The visitors took the lead after 12 minutes. A cross from the left was totally misjudged by Darren McNamee allowing Dan McMurray to head back across goal for Stephen Cockcroft to fire home.

Larne’s Player of the Month, Chris Keenan, then produced an excellent save to deny Cockcroft before the Welders doubled their lead just before the break.

The Larne defence failed to clear their lines and up stepped Chris Middelton to drive low into the net.

Any hopes of a comeback were killed off two minutes into the second-half. A great ball from William Armstrong found Middleton who was taken down by Ross Black. The inevitable spot-kick was awarded and clinically despatched by Armstrong.

The Reds had chances to pull a goal back, but Paul Maguire and William Wharry both failed to hit the target.

Late in the game Keenan kept the score line respectable with two great saves, tipping a Gareth Beattie header on to the bar and palming a Mark Magennis out for a corner.

LARNE: Keenan, McAllister (Heggarty 79), Black, Wharry, McNamee, King, Irvine (Swann 87), Mitchell, Maguire, Duffin (McGoran 56), McMurray.