Larne bowed out of the Steel and Sons Cup on Saturday going down 3-1 at home to Albert Foundry in the quarter-final.
Despite taking the lead, the Reds failed to match the efforts of their Amateur League opponents. It was a disappointing end to what had been a great month for the side who were lacklustre all over the pitch.
“The most disappointing thing from the game was that we got what we deserved and Albert Foundry got what they deserved,” was the summary of manager Davy McAlinden.
“They came here with a will to win the match and we were not good at all. I asked for a reaction from the players but I didn’t get it. It is one of the bumps we will get on the road and we will just have to get over it.”
It looked promising when Michael McClean saw his header scrambled off the line on five minutes.
Thomas Robinson went close before Larne went in front on 12 minutes. A Gerald Gillan free-kick broke to Stuart McMullan. He drove the ball low into the box where Paul Maguire supplied the finish.
Darren Stuart then had the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside.
Five minutes before the break a Gillan corner found McMullan but again the visitors managed to clear off the line.
Albert Foundry finished the half strongly and almost equalised when Aaron Harris drilled a shot inches wide.
Stuart then had a chance to double the lead but he snatched at the shot, sending it wide.
The visitors began to knock the ball about and levelled on 70 minutes. Stuart Martin forced his way through the Larne rearguard to slam the ball home.
It got worse for the Reds four minutes later. Substitute Ian West picked up the ball wide on the right and headed straight towards the goal and confidently despatched his shot past Paddy Flood.
At this stage Larne were struggling to string two passes together and their fate was sealed seven minutes from time. Paul Young raced down the left flank and as he cut into the box he was brought down by Kevin Bradley. The referee pointed to the spot and Martin confidently fired the penalty into the net.
Larne skipper Paul Maguire commented: “It is very disappointing as they wanted it more than us. It is a quarter-final and our last time in the competition.
“We might have been a bit tired after the Ards game but we should have had enough in the tank to keep us going.
“We got down a flanks a few times in the second half but we couldn’t get crosses in then we couldn’t even pass the ball. Overall it was a very disappointing performance and in cup games you can never take anything for granted.”
LARNE: Flood, Bradley, Smith, McClean (Rodgers 79), McMullan, McGrandless (McGonnell 63), Stuart (Donnelly 67) , Gillen, Irvine, Maguire, Robinson. Unused subs: Todd, Stitt.
ALBERT FOUNDRY: Cairnduff, Corry, McAlinden, Burns, Moore, Maxwell, Young, McCord, Martin, Harris, Acheson. Subs: West, Mitchell, Beck, McCombe.
Referee: K. Gibbons (Carrick).