With ninety minutes gone at Inver Park Larne supporters were looking forward to the next round of the Toals Steel and Sons Cup as they led 2-0. One minute later Immaculata had drawn level forcing the game into extra time and penalties with the Reds edging the shoot out 4-2.
“We made hard work of that game, we had the game won in ninety minutes then somehow concede two goals. It isn’t good enough to surrender a lead like that to be honest we didn’t play well at all.
“We should be winning games like that if go one against one in the majority of games we should come out on top. I am not enjoying watching our football at the minute and that means the supporters behind me can’t be enjoying it either, “ was the honest assessment of manager Davy McAlinden.
Larne couldn’t have wished for a better start going a goal up in the third minute. Tommy Robinson’s run into the area saw him upended by Tony Heagney with Guillame Keke confidently slotting home the penalty.
The lead should have been doubled on 20 minutes when Michael Smith’s cross found the unmarked John Donnelly but his header was straight at the keeper. The visitors to their credit kept plugging away but the game looked to be done and dusted when Keke headed home a Gerard Gillan corner with 15 minutes left.
Then came the fight back in overtime. Firstly Colm O’Riordan raced through a static defence to give the visitors hope before James Haughey sent the game into extra time which ended with the sides level.
Paddy Flood saved Michael Fisher’s penalty to give Larne the edge before Chris Rodgers stepped up to score the decisive penalty to put Larne into the quarter finals.
LARNE: Flood, Smith, Rodgers, McClean, McMullan, Irvine(McGrandless 96), Stuart(Gillan 52), Donnelly(McCabe 77), Maguire, Keke, Robinson. Unused subs: McGonnell, Stitt.
IMMACULATA: Devine, Haughey, Fisher, B.McGovern, S.McGovern, O’Riordan, Heagney, McClenaghan, Adams, Carson. Subs: Slane, McAllister, Fitzpatrick, Largy.
Referee. T.Farr (Newtownabbey)