Davy McAlinden accepts Larne were eliminated from the Intermediate Cup by arguably the best team in their league, but he was still ‘quite angry’ with the manner of Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Clandeboye Park. And, from here on, he says, players are playing for their future.
Larne were always going to be underdogs as they travelled to face a Bangor team which is level on points at the top of Championship 1 but now with two matches in hand over Carrick Rangers. They were also preparing for Monday night’s replay against Warrenpoint Town in the Irish Cup.
“We should be going out for every match believing we can win and Saturday was no different,” insisted the Inver Park manager. “So I was quite angry with how we played in the second half because gave in far too easily.
“Okay, we were hit by two goals inside 60 seconds after the break, but we didn’t show the character I demand from my team after that. There really was no chance of us getting back into the match from what was showing on the pitch.
“It was interesting to hear what Garth Scates said after the game. He thought we had nothing to offer in the second half and, while that’s true on what was seen, it’s very disappointing.
“We had been doing reasonably well and I was optimistic going into the break scoreless, and I was hoping for more from the team. But I didn’t get it and what we did see was not acceptable.
“The quick goals were annoying but there was still plenty of time to get back into the match, but we didn’t even come close to doing that.
“Bangor felt quite comfortable after that and we just didn’t make any influence on the game, leaving them to get a late third to kill it off,” said McAlinden.
Improving their position in the league table is Larne’s objective between now and the end of the season and the message will be sent out loud and clear from the manager to his entire squad ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Ballyskeagh to play Lisburn Distillery.
“Between now and the end of the programme there are 10 games for players to show they want to be involved in a club that is intent on going forward,” he said.
“We have four new recruits who have been unable to field yet because they were cup-tied for the last couple of matches and it’s obvious there are shirts up for grabs, so it will be interesting to see how people react to the new challenge.
“While this quartet has, of necessity, been sidelined, others have had their chance to show what they are capable of and now it will be up to others to avail of the opportunity.
“There’s no point in bringing people to the club just to sit in the stands, so they will definitely get their opportunity in the next few weeks.
“It starts with that trip to New Grosvenor and Distillery have made some new signings and we will be a much-improved side, among the arrivals being some experienced quality players, such as Ciaran O’Connor.
“It’s going to be a tough match for us, but I want a response and expect to get it,” said McAlinden.