LARNE FC: Stuart strike secures win over Lurgan Celtic

Larne's Darren Stuart scored the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win over Lurgan Celtic. Photo: Presseye
Larne's Darren Stuart scored the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win over Lurgan Celtic. Photo: Presseye

Larne completed the double over Lurgan Celtic when a first-half goal from Darren Stuart was enough to earn all three points.

“It was a huge three points after coming into the game the way we did with so many injuries and suspensions,” said Larne boss, Davy McAlinden. “I thought the attitude and effort was outstanding. I asked them to give of their best for the shirt and they duly did.

“We are missing some attacking players and we had to adapt to that but after the recent run of results the three points are all that matter.”

It was a tense 90 minutes as Larne made five changes from the Comrades game. The home side had the better of the early exchanges with Paul Maguire and Anto McGonnell going close.

It was 31 minutes before the visitors had a shot on target but Josh Barton’s effort failed to trouble Billy Brennan.

Two minutes before the break a stinging drive from Aaron Haire brought a superb save from Brennan to keep it all square.

As the first half moved into injury time Stuart struck. An inch-perfect pass sent him clear and despite Connor McCorry getting a hand to the shot it found the net.

Stuart had the ball in the net again on 58 minutes but this time it was ruled out for offside.

Maguire was working hard up top but his luck was out as he saw a close range header go inches wide. He then got on the end of a Stuart pass but failed to test the keeper.

A late rally from Lurgan Celtic enabled Barton to break into the box only to fire over the top.

It was a long final 10 minutes but the reshuffled Reds defence held out for a deserved win with Armagh up next.

Larne: Brennan, Bradley, McGonnell, McGrandless, Nixon, Rodgers, Gillan, Irvine, McManus (Donnelly 75), Stuart (Stewart 88), Maguire Subs not used. Robinson, Shields, Stuart

Lurgan Celtic: McCorry, Shannon, Rodgers, McCabe, Cochrane, Malone, Barton, McVeigh, Lavery, Haire, Conaty. Subs: O’Hara, Devlin, Seeley, Devlin, Wilson

Referee: K. Gibbons