Losing a derby fixture hurts at any time, regardless of whether or not there is a lot at stake, but there was no heartbreak at Inver Park on Friday night when Larne lost 1-0 to Ballyclare because there were lots of mitigating factors and it was a fair result.
“It’s always difficult to lose these types of fixtures, of course it is. But, disappointing as it is, it’s not quite so painful when you appreciate that we had a centre-half doing nets and we had five other players missing,” explained Larne boss, Davy McAlinden.
“That’s the major downside of having a small squad. Any absence through injury or suspension can damage the strength of the team, but when you have so many players all missing at the same time, it’s especially difficult to cope with.
“Some were injured, others were suspended and Chris Keenan cried off through illness. He was hit by a bug and couldn’t lift his head off the pillow, with the result that William Wharry was forced to go between the sticks.
“Scottie Irvine and Craig Todd both started and this was of necessity because I’m not sure if they were quite ready to come back from long-term injury. In fact, I think they were not really ready at all. But the upside of coming back a good way ahead of schedule is that they both successfully got 90 minutes of competitive action under their belts.
“So, all things considered, I can’t be too hard on the team for losing this game because I think it’s best to say it’s one of those situations where you take the defeat on the chin and move on to the next test.”
Larne’s next assignment is a trip to Dundela, who will be smarting after a 4-0 defeat to Institute.
“I can’t remember the last time they didn’t score because it seemed like they had been bagging goals for fun all season,” added McAlinden.
“We know what to expect and we had better be prepared for it. But I am looking forward to a very intriguing fixture because we will have Stuart King, Jonny McMurray and Ross Black all available again, while Chris Keenan should be back between the sticks. Jamie Mitchell isn’t available and Stuart Scott is still out through injury.
“We will have a much more experienced side on duty and I am expecting to give Dundela a run for their money” added the relaxed Larne manager, whosays he had a quiet Saturday off for a change after their Friday night match against the Comrades.