DONEGAL CELTIC 1 LARNE 1

Larne's Eamon Hughes clears the ball against Donegal Celtic. Photo: Presseye
Larne's Eamon Hughes clears the ball against Donegal Celtic. Photo: Presseye
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A Ross Black goal a minute from the end of normal time earned Larne a valuable point at Donegal Celtic.

After a poor first-half performance, the Reds upped their game and on their second-half performance alone they deserved the point.

With David McAlinden confirmed as the new manager, caretaker boss Sammy Smith took charge for the final time, and was pleased with the player’s commitment.

“I told the players in no uncertain terms at half time it wasn’t good enough. They responded brilliantly in the second half, especially young Dylan McRandal who was outstanding.

“We created enough chances to win the game after the break, then to go a goal down five minutes from time and show the character they did was brilliant.”

Asked about a possible role in the new management structure, Smith added: “I don’t know what the new man’s plans will be, but if I am asked I will consider it. The players and current backroom staff are a great bunch but I have told the players they have put themselves in the position they are in and they need to fight to get themselves out of it and I believe they can.”

McRandal saw early action with a great save to deny Mark Burns after four minutes.

Larne were then denied a stonewall penalty when Eamon Hughes was pushed in the back as he rose to meet a corner.

The home side continued to dominate and should have been in front just before the break when the ball broke to Joe Todd but he fired wide.

Two minutes into the second half home keeper Gerard McErlean raced out of his area and appeared to grab the ball ahead of Stuart King. The referee and his assistant took no action.

Celtic took the lead on 85 minutes when a Danny Wallace free-kick into the box wasn’t dealt with and substitute Connor Glenholmes pounced to score.

As the seconds ticked away, Josh McAllister’s cross to the back post fell to Ross Black. He steadied himself then fired in a low shot which crept inside the back post to bring the sides level.

Larne: McRandall, Wharry (J.McAllister 72), Hughes, N.McAllister, McNamee, Scott, King, McConnell, Maguire, Picking (McAuley 77) Black. Subs not used: Swann.