FOOTBALL: Ballyclare Comrades take Championship bragging rights over Larne

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LARNE 2 BALLYCLARE COMRADES 3

Ballyclare Comrades earned the bragging rights in the East Antrim Derby with a 3-2 win at Larne. Having survived a first half barrage they went in a goal down at the break the visitors settled after the break to become the first side to beat Larne in a league game at Inver Park this season.

It was an entertaining ninety minutes for the bumper crowd who watched the Reds waste a great chance to go ahead after only 45 second. Stephen O’Neill and Mark Hillen combined to set up Michael Smith but from five yards he fired over the bar.

After O’Neill had wasted two gilt edged chances the home side went ahead on 14 minutes. A Hillen cross into the danger zone was met by Adam McCart but his deflection took the ball into his own net.

At the other end Adam Gray saw his shot hit the upright before Chris Trussel headed over from close range. After the restart O’Neill created a chance for Ryan Kane but his header was comfortably saved by Paddy Flood.

The Comrades were getting a foothold in the game and they levelled after 50 minutes. Slack defending allowed Gray to get a run on goal and despite the best efforts on Michael McKenna his shot found the back of the net.

The visitors then took the lead 15 minutes later with question marks again being asked of the home defence. Marc Shannon delivered a free kick into the box, McCart might have got a touch as the ball was allowed to sail past Joel Madison into the net.

The lead was extended four minutes later. This time a corner from Thomas Robinson was fumbled by Madison in the home goal and allowed to creep over the line despite protests of the home side. Larne rallied again late on with Hillen firing over from four yards.

With six minutes left O’Neill set up Paul Maguire to convert Larne’s’ second but the visitors held out for the win which keeps them third in the table ahead of their hosts.