Division 1A: Larne Tech recorded their third clean sheet of the season as they signed off in 2014 with a 3-0 victory over St Patrick’s Young Men, beaten for only the second time in the league.
All the goals came in the second half with Niall McAllister (inset) netting the opener before Josh McAllister landed a double.
St Pat’s, who play their home games at The Cliff, had claimed all three points when the sides met at Seacourt on Match Day One, courtesy of a last-gasp strike.
That one looked like a nil-nil and Saturday’s encounter seemed to be heading the same way after a scoreless first half.
The Tech, of course, have been giving away goals too readily, especially at home base – leaking four to Dundonald, five to Glentoran Seconds and six to Downpatrick.
Perhaps that was the logic behind the back five, with young Matt Devine, sweeping in behind Reece Moore and Ryan Thompson, while, rarely for a home game, the Antiville outfit started the match with just one up front in Lee Thompson.
Keelan McAuley, meanwhile, was fit only or a seat on the bench, while Jack Wharry and Reece McGinley are edging their way back to full fitness.
Tech manager Johnny Hastings explained: “The first half was a good, strong defensive display. We restricted St Pat’s to very little. At half-time, we asked our boys to have more belief going forward and commit more bodies on the break.”
And true to form, just five minutes into the second session, Niall McAllister spectacularly finished off a Scott McNally cross.
Five minutes later, it was two, as substitute McAuley unselfishly squared the ball back for Josh McAllister to beat the keeper in a one-on-one.
A fine save from Keith Wilson protected that two-goal cushion, before the points were secured 20 minutes from time when Josh McAllister scampered through to dink the ball over the keeper.
Hastings added: “The difference was we scored when we got our chances. Our shape has been better in recent weeks, limiting the number of opportunities we’re giving teams, but we were still being punished.
“But against St Pat’s, it just clicked, offensively and defensively. We were more clinical and when you do take your chances, it sucks teams out and then we were able to pick them off on the break.”