A much-improved performance from Larne saw them progress to the next round of the JBE League Cup with a 3-1 win over Loughgall.
Playing with lots of energy and commitment, the Reds fully deserved their win and left Davy McAlinden a happy manager.
“The will to win and togetherness was all there and the boys really showed they wanted to win. We have questioned their attitude after the early games and they showed that side of their character in abundance but there is still room for improvement,” he said.
“We had chances to score more and when they scored to make it 2-1, you are thinking ‘how did that happen?’ The main thing is we are in the hat for the next round and that is what Cup football is all about. McAlinden revealed after the game he had spoken to the Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin and he confirmed the Solitude outfit have no interest in signing striker Ciaran Murray.
Larne went ahead after only nine minutes. John Donnelly started the move picking out Gerard Gillan. The ball was quickly played onto Murray and he hammered the ball home.
Murray uncharacteristically wasted a chance to double his and Larne’s tally when he was played in by Thomas Robinson, only to steer his shot wide.
Loughgall then had their best spell of the game and goalkeeper Paddy Flood was forced to palm away a shot from Jamie Wray.
Ten minutes after the break the lead was doubled when Paul Maguire scored his first of the season with a clinical finish.
The visitors got back into the game on 68 minutes. A cross from the left found substitute John Upritchard who capitalised on indecision in the home defence to head home.
With the game in added time, Michael Smith confirmed the victory with a great individual effort, cutting in from the left to blast the ball high into the net.
LARNE: Flood, Smith, McClean, Reynolds (Rodgers 65), McMullan (Woods 78), Irvine, G. Gillan, Maguire, Murray (McCabe 88), Robinson. Unused subs: Burns,Stuart.
LOUGHGALL: Buchanan, Tavers, Mallen, Copeland, Hudson, Henderson, McMahon, Dallas, Boyle, Dane, Rea. Subs: Upritchard, Ferguson, Wilson.
Referee: C. Morrison (Belfast)
Other JBE League Cup results
Banbridge Town 3-1 Armagh City
Portstewart 0-3 Knockbreda
Queen’s 1-7 Sport and Leisure
Tobermore United 0-2 Newington
Ballyclare Comrades 2-1 Wakehurst
Glebe Rangers 1-0 Coagh United
Moyola Park 2-0 Donegal Celtic