Andrew Mitchell looking for minor gains towards big Larne wins

The 19 weeks between Larne’s previous visit to Shamrock Park and weekend win featured the highs of European football, lows of Irish Cup final agony and a significant summer transfer window.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 6:58 pm

The continued rapid rise of Larne under the financial support of owner Kenny Bruce and full-time model moulded by manager Tiernan Lynch was reflected in a starting line-up which featured only four faces on Saturday with memories of the shock April loss in Portadown.

Andrew Mitchell, one of the quartet, reflected on the progress of Larne between those two Premiership tests in the aftermath of a 3-2 victory on Saturday in which the vistors had to sow both grace and grit towards full points.

“We’ve got to take the positives, coming away from here with a very important win,” said Mitchell. “But we must use it as experience, last year I guarantee we would have crumbled and lost (under that pressure).

Andrew Mitchell sliding in for Larne to stop Stephen Teggart against Portadown. Pic by Pacemaker.

“Last year we lost this same fixture so it’s about putting those things right and we did that today.

“But we also know the performance in the second half was not good enough.

“It probably comes down to giving that final five or 10 per cent that’s needed.

“It was not good for the fans’ nerves - or our nerves - but we leave with a hard-fought win.

“In the first half we were cruising and you see a lot of games in football at 2-0 up where whoever scores that next goal can go ahead and win the game.

“So we showed a bit of character not to lose the game and then go 3-1 up.

“But there can be those jittery nerves at 2-1 with 20 minutes or so left it becomes about thinking of holding on to that 2-1 lead rather than thinking you still have a one-goal lead.

“If we are to go on and challenge for titles and win cup finals you need to grind out wins and look back on those as key results come the end of the season.

“If we learn from it then we are in a good place...if we don’t then it’s going to be a long, hard season.

“People looking in see Larne as full-time but this is a good league - Portadown are a good team and in all my time within the Irish League I’ve never come here and had it easy.

“In the first half we were playing things forward and doing everything a lot quicker but at 2-0 up you tend to take that extra touch or go into challenges at 80 per cent.

“Once you start doing that then opponents get that extra urge and the fans get a lift.

“It’s not the way we wanted to do it - but we came here looking for those three points to take back down the road.

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