Larne drop to fourth after Ards defeat

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Larne dropped to fourth place in Championship 1 following their 2-1 reversal at home to Ards.

After a poor first-half performance, the Reds picked up the pace but despite James McCabe reducing the deficit they couldn’t find an equaliser. Stephen O’Neill had given Ards the lead on his debut before former Carrick striker Shane Dolan doubled their advantage.

“We shot ourselves in the foot conceding an early goal in each half. We thought coming in only one down at the break, having played into the strong wind, we had done OK and with the chances we could maybe have gone in level,” said Larne’s assistant-manager, Mark Carlisle.

“We went out planning to have a real go at them and then gave away a bad goal a minute into the half. Overall, I thought we possibly deserved a point but I didn’t think we did enough to win it,” he added.

Both sides had early chances before the visitors went ahead on four minutes. Craig McMillen provided the pass for new signing O’Neill to provide the finish.

Darren Stuart, who was making his debut for the Reds, had a chance to level on 29 minutes but his shot from Ciaran Murray’s long throw was just over the bar.

Less than a minute after the break Ards doubled their lead. Gary Warwick crossed for the unmarked Dolan who gave John Connolly no chance.

Larne then began to dominate and it took a great save from Aaron Shannahan to deny Stuart King. The home side ensured it would be a nail-biting finish when James McCabe got on the end of a King cross to fire the ball home.

The Reds had a late penalty appeal turned down when McCabe was bundled over in the box but the referee, who was well placed, waved play on.

Larne: Connolly, Bradley, Smith, McClean, Reynold, King, G.Gillan (Lowry 46), E.Gillan, Stuart, Murray (Robinson 58),McCabe. Subs not used: Todd, McGoran, Heggarty