Marsh’s exit a big loss for Larne, says boss Kincaid

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It’s only one point and that’s three short of what he had set as his target from the opening three fixtures, but Tommy Kincaid was reasonably happy with his lot as he and his Larne team made the journey home from East Belfast after a 0-0 draw with HW Welders on Saturday.

“We could have had all three points, there’s absolutely no question about that. But, a draw, away from home, against one of the high-flyers in the Championship, is not such a bad result at all,” concluded the manager, who was without three players – one of whom has quit the club.

“Scottie Todd wasn’t available because he away on holiday, Chris Keenan had to work, while Jamie Marsh has actually had to completely wrap up his involvement with the club because of work commitments, which is a pretty big loss.

“I was obviously aware of Scottie’s absence because of a pre-arranged holiday, while Chris did everything he could to try and get off work. But it’s one of those unfortunate situations which will, thankfully, only arise once in a while, whereby it was his turn to lock up, and nothing could be done to counteract that.

“Jamie was going to be a big part of our plans for the season. He has been with Larne for almost four years since his move from Glentoran and was one of the most experienced members of the panel. But work commitments mean he won’t able to devote the time any more, and that’s something we just have to live with.

“Craig Todd came in against the Welders and he did great, while Darren Gibbons took over in goal and performed extremely well, as the clean sheet testifies. No goals scored either, but it’s a point on the board and now we must hope to build on it.

“In terms of chances created, Larne were way ahead of Harland and Wolff. We had several chances in the first half, while I can only recall one for them. In the second half we again had quite a few opportunities, the Welders having several and Darren was called upon to make a couple of good saves towards the end to avert a sucker-punch finish.

“As in the previous couple of games, the performance was very pleasing and I can’t grumble about that. It’s just a pity that we didn’t find the net to crown an otherwise satisfying display.

“In fact, I tried to sign a striker from Dundela during the week, David Wright. But he has opted instead to join Bangor who train just a matter of minutes from where he lives – and there are not too many goalscorers out there, as I am sadly finding right now.

“Next Saturday’s game against Warrenpoint is off because of the junior international team’s involvement in Macedonia. They have a couple of players in the squad, while Paul Maguire is representing Larne – and we wish him the best of luck in the competition which runs until next Tuesday.

“We are trying to organise a friendly fixture for Saturday and, if we are successful, Neil Candlish will look after the team while I head off to watch a match somewhere else,” revealed Kincaid.