Larne edge out ‘Stute in a real Christmas cracker

Larne's Stuart King keeps his eye on the ball in Saturday's win over Institute at Inver Park. Photo: Phillip Byrne
Larne's Stuart King keeps his eye on the ball in Saturday's win over Institute at Inver Park. Photo: Phillip Byrne

Larne claimed a valuable three league points on Saturday when they edged out Institute in a seven-goal Christmas cracker.

It looked done and dusted with 34 minutes left as the Reds led 4-1 against the visitors who were down to 10 men.

The home side then took their eye of the ball and allowed ‘Stute back into the game but held on for a deserved win.

With only two minutes gone Paul Maguire saw his shot from the left side of the box scrape the cross bar. A minute later Institute were in front. Darren McFadden’s free-kick took a touch off Matthew Carson en route to goal, giving Dylan McRandal no chance.

Matthew Gallagher in the ‘Stute goal kept his side in front with two excellent saves to deny Robbie White and Maguire.

Five minutes before the break Larne were level. Mark Picking found space on the right to pick out White who swept the ball home.

The last action of the half brought Larne’s second when Maguire picked up a cracking pass from Stuart King to deliver a clinical finish.

Larne were totally in control at this stage and extended their lead four minutes after the break. Confusion in the visitors’ defence allowed the alert Maguire to pounce and add his second.

Institute were then reduced to 10 men when Crossan was shown a second yellow for dissent. Larne then added number four on 56 minutes. Josh McAllister set off down the flank then cut into the box before calmly lofting the ball over Gallagher.

The home side then lost their shape and Stute reduced the deficit six minutes later. Darren McCauley was allowed too much space to cut the ball back for Declan McKeever to score.

The home supporters were then left in a sweat as the visitors added a third 11 minutes from time. This time the roles were reversed as McKeever turned provider for McKeever to fire a low shot past McRandal.

Larne had chances to kill off the game late on as McAllister turned the ‘Stute defence inside out, but the final ball was wasted. Picking then delivered a cross onto the head of Maguire who was unlucky to see his header strike the upright.

Larne: McRandal, Scott, Black, Wharry, McNamee, Irvine (Todd 70), King, Picking, Maguire, White, J. McAllister. Subs not used: Swann, McNeill, Gargan.

Institute: Gallagher, Devlin (McCauley 55), C. McLaughlin, Crossan, P. McLaughlin, Henderson, McKeever, Reilly (Carlin 68), Parkhouse, Hume (O’Donnell 55), McFadden. Subs not used: Varma, Doherty.

Referee. Cecil Floyd.