Larne 2 Loughgall 0

Championship 1: Larne v Loughgall
Championship 1: Larne v Loughgall

LARNE manager Graham McConnell insists he had no worries over allowing goalkeeper Chris Keenan to take the penalty which sent his side on their way to all three points against Loughgall, at Inver Park.

Having missed three penalties already this season, the duties were handed over to netminder Keenan.

And the Invermen were quick out of the blocks as Robbie White’s header had the home side two goals to the good after just 11 minutes.

Manager McConnell said: “Chris wanted to take our next penalty and he even told me where he was going to put it.

“I honestly don’t think there are too many, if any, players with a better left foot than Chris in this division.

“He was confident in taking it, and put it away very well.

“It was a very good start for us in the game but we maybe eased off a little bit because, inwardly, some of the players thought it would be easier that what it was.

“Fair play to Loughgall who, despite going two down early on, kept on fighting.

“Any three points in this league is a good win and it’s particularly important for us to win our home games.”

Larne started the game strongly and had the first chance after just four minutes.

A neat exchange between Stuart King and Robbie White on the edge of the box resulted in King finding time for a shot from 15 yards out but could only fire wide.

The opener arrived with eight minutes gone as Stuart King cut in from the left flank and saw his effort blocked by Gavin Fox’s outstretched arm.

Keenan didn’t disappointed and dispatched the ball low to Jamie McArdle’s left, despite the visiting stopper guessing right.

Three minutes later and the lead was doubled. Yet more neat approach play - this time on the right flank - allowed Scott Irvine to whip in an inch-perfect cross which was met by White’s bullet header.

The home side somewhat took their foot off the gas for the remainder of the half and Aaron Haire came close to bringing Loughgall back into it, only to shoot over from the edge of the box.

It was Larne, however, who came the closest to another goal on the stroke of half-time when Josh McAllister’s diving header hit the base of the post from White’s headed pass across goal.

In the second session, Larne McConnell’s men were as fluent but comfortably saw out the result.

Keenan did have to be at his best to claim his clean sheet as he got up to paw away Haire’s top corner-bound effort.

At the other end Larne should have put the ball beyond doubt on a break away when frontmen White and McAllister only had the goalkeeper to beat.

However, as White tried to unselfishly square for his strike partner McArdle nipped in saved the danger.

Larne: Keenan, Scott, Hughes, N McAllister, McNamee, Picking (Wharry), Irvine (B McClean), Crawford (Gargan), White, J McAllister. Unused subs: McConnell, Todd

Loughgall: McArdle, Fox, Brady, Stewart, McKee, Ferguson, Bollard, Lavery (Boyle), Haire, Ryan, Bradley. Unused subs: Rooney, Carson, Flanagan, Finley.

Referee: Keith Kennedy