Chris Rodgers’ injury-time strike gave 10-man Larne a 3-2 win over Downpatrick in round three of the Intermediate Cup, but boss Davy McAlinden says he’s still concerned about his side’s defensive lapses.
After going behind to a Barry Tracey goal, Cliftonville loanee Ciaran Murray’s brace put Larne in front.
Larne’s Eoin Gillan headed for an early bath after picking up a second caution and poor defending saw the visitors to draw level through Stephen Galbraith. But Rodgers popped up with a cracking finish to decide the tie.
McAlinden told the Times: “I thought we were better than last week but individual errors hurt us again. We were doing OK until we went down to 10 men, then we make another error which cost us. I know I keep saying it, but it is my job to fix it.
“As a defender myself I don’t know why we don’t just put a foot through the ball but it isn’t just happening in the defence. We had chances to score which we didn’t take in the first five minutes.
“We have set standards which we are not currently meeting and we will need to step it up as we are unlikely to get away with it against Championship sides. We were put to the sword at Loughgall but we have also done it to other teams.
“We need to focus our minds for next week as the league is the priority. Questions have been asked of players and to be honest not all of them have been answered.”
Striker Murray, who took his tally to four since his return from Solitude, said: “I have enjoyed the last two matches and it is good to be back playing football. We got a foothold in the game but the sending off hurt us.
“We had chances to kill the game off in the first half but these things happen in football. It was a great finish from Chrissy Rodgers to win it, one which I would have been proud of. With the quality of the strike force we now have you certainly need to be contributing to have any chance of being selected.
“We need to pick it up again for this weekend against Loughgall as we certainly owe them one. We were nowhere near good enough three weeks ago down there and we shouldn’t be losing to any side the way we did. If we can tighten it up, I think we have enough quality in the side to get the three points.”