Larne v Ballyclare Comrades
Larne v Ballyclare Comrades

Larne got their season off to an impressive start with a 4-1 win against neighbours Ballyclare Comrades at Inver Park.

It was an eventful game with three players seeing red - two from the home side - in the second half.

Captain Paul Maguire gave Larne the lead after just seven minutes, as he was on hand to hammer home after Paddy Flood had saved from James McCabe.

Larne had two penalty appeals turned down before Ross Davison slammed a 30-yard free-kick against the bar.

The Invermen did double their lead, however, three minutes before the break. Thomas Robinson picked up the loose ball 20 yards out and cut inside before planting a low shot past the helpless Flood.

Seven minutes after the break and David McAlinden’s men extended their lead further still.

Stuart King sent Robinson clear on the left flank and his cross was met by McCabe who slotted home, via a close range deflection.

Larne looked to be coasting at that stage but a moment of madness saw them lose Ciaran Murray and Stuart King to red cards after a melee in the centre of the pitch.

While Ballyclare substitute Gary Brown reduced the arrears with a diving header, the Comrades never really threatened to get back into the contest and lost Andrew Doyle to a second yellow card after a trip on the impressive Robinson.

Indeed, it was Robinson who had the final say as he left the Comrades defence trailing in his wake and slotted home for his second and Larne’s fourth with the last kick of the match.

Larne: Connolly, Thompson, Davison, McClean, McMullan, Scott, Irvine (Crawford), King, McCabe (Murray), Maguire (Smith), Robinson. Subs not used: G. Gillan, White.

Ballyclare: Flood, Doherty (Brown), Buckley, McAlea, Gage, McCart (Smith), Agnew, McClean (Reid), Trussell, Doyle, Cooper. Subs not used: Simms, Getty.

Referee: Ken Gibbons