Institute test awaits McAlinden’s men

Chimney Corner player Stephen Tully keeps the ball from Larne's Niall McAllister in last week's Intermediate Cup clash at Allen Park.

Chimney Corner player Stephen Tully keeps the ball from Larne's Niall McAllister in last week's Intermediate Cup clash at Allen Park.

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Larne have been keeping the supporters biting their nails until the final whistle in recent fixtures, sometimes not with the desired outcome, and it appears likely that there’ll be more of the same in the concluding two fixtures of 2013.

A home game against Institute this weekend and a post-Christmas derby with Carrick Rangers at Seaview is what is in store for the Inver faithful, after their team got back to winning ways in Saturday’s 2-1 Intermediate Cup tie against Chimney Corner.

“To be honest, we made a bit of hard work of it and it wasn’t really pretty to look at for most of the time, although the second goal was something pretty special, I thought,” reflected manager Davy McAlinden.

“I think we had nine, 10 or possibly 11 passes prior to what was truly a sublime finish from Paul Maguire to put what was essentially the seal on the game. It was a nice score.

“We didn’t take our chances and, having gone in at half-time with the scoresheet still blank, we got the breakthrough goal shortly after the resumption and the second goal killed them off to a degree.

“However, they got a goal back a couple of minutes into stoppage-time and, momentarily, I thought that we were going to have the supporters on the edge of their seats again.

“But there really was very little time left and the final whistle came a matter of seconds later – before they even had time to muster another attack.

“Overall, I was pleased with our day’s work and the players adapted quite well to what were not very pleasant conditions for football.

“But the last few games have been such that we were never able to feel comfortable and go about playing the kind of football we can produce, so I think it would be nice to take one or two of our early chances and thus enable us to settle into a groove.

“Sometimes I think the guys are determined to make me go a wee bit bald and grey before I really want to,” joked the manager, who is looking forward to those upcoming examinations against the title hopefuls.

“It’s good to be getting back to the league and the game with Institute will be a good test of our ability because we know that they will come to Inver Park and play football, Paul Kee always keen for his team to do that.

“And we know we will have to play well if we are to end the year with any more league points in the bag, the December 28 game against Carrick Rangers switched to Seaview because of ongoing work on their changing facilities,” added the enthusiastic Larne manager.