Carrick Rangers performed a smash and grab raid at Inver Park on Saturday when they defeated Larne 2-1 in a hard-fought derby.
Winning manager Gary Haveron was happy with the three points, but not the performance.
“You can’t be disappointed with three points but it was a very under par show from us. We should have built on the great start but we looked lethargic - especially in the first half. We showed belief and in the final 10 minutes we came back into it and got the winner.
“Credit to Larne who were the better side. They played very well and on another day would have won the game. We couldn’t pick up the first or second ball and Larne will be scratching their heads wondering how they didn’t get something from the game but that’s football.
“We will play better this season and lose games. Things have been good in training but that performance was not up to the standards we have set ourselves,” added Haveron.
His counterpart, Graham McConnell, couldn’t believe his side had ended up empty-handed.
“The best team lost as we dominated from start to finish and it is very cruel on our players. Our application was first-class and our reaction after going a goal down so early was brilliant. You don’t always get what you deserve in football, but if we show that commitment every week I will be happy.”
McConnell was also full of praise for 17-year-old Dylan McRandal who made his debut in goal. “I thought he did very well in what was probably our biggest game of the season on a difficult surface. His save towards the end was top drawer and he will take a lot of confidence from his performance.”
McRandal’s first action in the game saw him pick the ball out of the back of the net after only 64 seconds.
A long clearance from Gareth Deane wasn’t dealt with by the home defence allowing Richard Gibson to head past the advancing McRandal.
The Reds then took control with Paul Maguire forcing a finger-tip save from Deane and Ruari McClean sending a 35-yard lob just over the bar.
Just after the break substitute Robbie-Lee Crawford missed the proverbial sitter when he turned a Scott Irvine pass over the bar from three yards.
With 50 minutes gone, Larne drew level. Maguire was felled in the corner of the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Maguire dusted himself down to blast the penalty into the net.
With four minutes left Harmon fired in a well-struck free-kick, forcing McRandal, at full stretch, to push the ball out for a corner.
Two minutes later Rangers grabbed the winner. A corner from the left bobbled about in the box. It broke to Gibson who saw his effort hit the upright before Aaron Harmon hammered in the rebound which took a deflection off Irvine as it flew past the keeper into the net.
Larne: McRandal, Scott (Todd 83), Hughes, Wharry, McNamee, King, Irvine, N.McAllister, Maguire, McClean (J. McAllister 61) Black (Crawford 41). Unused subs: McConnell, McAuley.
Carrick Rangers: Deane, Smith, O’Kane, Donaghey, Taggart, Curran, McCloskey (Sanusi 54), McCann (Burns 66), Kelly (McConnell 78), Gibson, Harmon. Unused subs: Dougherty, Bell.