Larne boss Davy McAlinden was left to pick up the pieces of Saturday’s thumping 6-1 defeat to promotion hopefuls Ards.
It was the heaviest home defeat Larne have suffered since he took over in the autumn of 2013, and it came hot on the heels of an unexpected Steel and Sons Cup quarter-final exit to Amateur League side Albert Foundry.
Niall Currie’s Ards - now just a point behind Championship 1 leaders HW Welders - sit five clear of the Inver Reds, who occupy third.
Speaking to the Times after Saturday’s defeat, McAlinden said: “As a manager I didn’t think I could feel any worse than I did after the Albert Foundry game, but I do today.
“I am asking things of some players and they are not doing it. Even against a Premiership team we shouldn’t be losing by that margin.
“It is not the ability in the side as it hasn’t been like that, so it has to be something else. I won’t make excuses about players who are missing. Players were given the opportunity to make an impression but they made the wrong one.”
Midfielder Darren Stuart, who was named the Supporters’ Player of the Month award for October, added: “It wasn’t good at all and we got off to a terrible start and it didn’t get any better. The result against Albert Foundry knocked our confidence and it maybe carried on into this week. We shouldn’t be losing to any side by that margin but we have it in the squad so we have to pick ourselves up again at Lurgan Celtic next week as it will be another tough test.”
The weekend had began so well for Larne with striker Guillaume Keke named as Championship Player of the Month for October by the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association.Keke scored six goals last month to take his season’s tally to 11 goals in 10 appearances.