Larne lose to Ards on opening day

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A 2-1 defeat but a lot of positives in the performance was the summary of the game between Larne and Ards at Clandeboye Road in the opening game of the new Championship season.

The home side had the best of the early exchanges and went ahead on 11 minutes. A cross from the right broke to James Cully who fired across Chris Keenan into the net.

Larne picked themselves up and for the remainder of the half they were in control.

They got back on level terms after 21 minutes. George Young played the ball wide to Andy Simms and his cross found Paul Maguire who found the net from close range.

Young went close to giving Larne the lead just before the break when he fired a well-struck shot just wide.

Ards began to dominate after the restart as the visitors struggled to play their flowing football.

Six minutes into the half they grabbed the winner when Cully got the better of Sammy Devine and set up Ross Arthurs to give Keenan no chance.

Larne went with two up front midway through the second half and substitute Craig Todd almost snatched a point in the final minute when he met a Simms corner but was denied by a fine save from Graham McKibben.

ARDS: McKibben, Hull, Pike, Spence, Nixon, McIlhagga, McMillan, Moffatt, Dougan, Arthurs. Subs: P. McDowell, K. McDowell, Cully, Kingsberry, Dougherty.

LARNE: Keenan, S. Todd, Lemon, Marsh, Wharry, Devine, Workman, Berry, Maguire, Young, Simms. Subs: C.Todd (Devine), McAllister (Young), Hanna (Workman), Moore, Gibbons.

Referee. I. McNally

Report by Paul Campbell