Larne see off Portstewart in eight-goal thriller

Paul Maguire scored twice in the 5-3 win over Portstewart

Paul Maguire scored twice in the 5-3 win over Portstewart

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Larne progressed to the second round of this season’s League Cup after they edged a 5-3 thriller against Portstewart at Inver Park on Tuesday evening.

A brace each for Paul Maguire and Stuart King and a last-minute strike from Gary Workman secured the win.

After missing an early chance, Maguire put Larne ahead on 12 minutes with a deflected shot giving the keeper no chance. Graham McConnell’s men had a string of chances to kill off the game but they were pegged back when Lee Forgrave fired the equaliser on 21 minutes.

Portstewart then took the lead six minutes before the break when Adam Campbell made the most of slack defending to force the ball home. Larne’s response came early in the second half. Ciaran Gargan broke down the left and fired in a low cross for King to hammer the ball into the net.

Goalkeeper Chris Keenan came to Larne’s rescue on 62 minutes, rushing from his goal to deny Nigel Turner who was through on goal. Turner then put the visitors ahead 15 minutes from time, capitalising on a slip by Craig Todd to beat Keenan.

To their credit Larne lifted themselves again and were level within three minutes. King slipped a great ball to Maguire who finished in style giving Joel Madison no chance.

King then added his second of the game to put Larne 4-3 ahead with a sweetly struck free-kick three minutes from time.

Workman, who had only been on the pitch for a minute, netted number five when he brushed past Stephen Watson before, somehow, squeezing a low shot past Madison to earn a home tie against Dungannon Swifts on August 26.

Larne: Keenan, Scott, McShane, McNamee, Todd (Wharry 83), Irvine, King, Picking (Workman 89), Maguire, White (J. McAllister 87), Gargan. Unused subs: Crawford, Murray.