Most Larne supporters agreed that despite Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at home to Glenavon, there were a lot of positives to take from the game.
With seven first-team squad members unavailable through injury and holidays it was always going to be difficult against the Premiership side. And it proved to be a day to remember for Glenavon teenager Andy McGrory who bagged a hat-trick in the opening half hour.
From start to finish Larne tried to play football with the dreaded long ball game of last season hopefully consigned to history. As usual in these pre-season games, both sides made numerous switches in personnel with Glenavon fielding almost a totally different team in the second half.
The visitors looked sharper throughout and after three minutes Jim Knowles steered his shot wide when well placed. Darren Gibbons was left in no man’s land as the visitors went in front five minutes later, with McGrory firing home.
The lead was doubled on 15 minutes when McGrory was perfectly placed to tap in after Gibbons could only parry a close-range shot from Knowles.
Larne had a chance to reduce the deficit on 27 minutes when Gary Workman delivered a corner from the right and found Craig Todd, but his header was brilliantly saved by Andy Coleman.
Glenavon responded within a minute to extend their lead and allow McGrory to complete his hat-trick. A long ball into the heart of the Larne defence caused confusion between Arron Lemon and Gibbons who should have claimed the cross allowing the teenager to fire into the empty net.
Workman had another chance to get the Reds on the score sheet on 34 minutes but, with options to his left, he blazed his shot high over the bar.
Craig Todd and Ryan Berry then went close for the home side before player-manager Gary Hamilton added number four on 55 minutes.
George Young, who had an outstanding game in the middle of the park, ran onto a Workman pass on the hour getting in a well struck shot which was pushed out for a corner by Davy O’Hare.
Glenavon completed the scoring three minutes from time when Knowles took advantage of slack defending to steer the ball home.
Next up for Larne in their pre-season build up is a trip to Derriaghy on Saturday. Fans wishing to travel to the match will be welcomed on the supporters’ bus which leaves Inver Park at 12.30pm.
LARNE: Gibbons, S. Todd, Bell, Marsh, Lemon, Berry, Devine, Young, Workman, C. Todd, Simms Subs: McFettridge, Fletcher, Hastings, McClean.