Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorer :
Jordan Stewart 2'
Larne Scorers :
Mark Randall 4', David McDaid 16', Harry Flowers 71'
Linfield Yellow Card :
Larne Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Rohan Ferguson (GK), Ethan Boyle (Niall Quinn 61’) Josh Robinson, Jimmy Callacher, Matthew Clarke, Stephen Fallon, Bastien Hery (Kyle McClean 61’), Kirk Millar, Joel Cooper (Rory Currie 68’), Jordan Stewart, Shayne Lavery
Linfield Subs not used :
Alex Moore (GK), Mark Stafford, Daniel Kearns, Matthew Shevlin
Larne Team :
Conor Devlin (GK), Tomas Cosgrove, Harry Flowers, Albert Watson, Dean Jarvis, Martin Donnelly, Faud Sule, Mark Randall (Ben Tilney 76’), Jeff Hughes ©, Lee Lynch, David McDaid
Larne Subs not used :
Conor Mitchell, Graham Kelly, Chris Ramsey, Pablo Andrade, Cillain Gilmour, John Herron
Linfield tonight travelled to a sold-out Inver Park for a League fixture the first time since 2007, taking on the ambitious Larne. Both teams came into the game in high spirits. Larne were boosted by their first win over a top six team at the weekend when they beat Glentoran. Linfield were coming off the back of an emphatic 8-1 win over Glenavon, however, they were forced to make a change to the eleven which started on Saturday as Bastien Hery replaced injured skipper Jamie Mulgrew.
There was a crazy start to the game, with the match played at 100 mph. Linfield took the lead within two minutes when Jordan Stewart was hot on his toes to nip across the front post to poke a Kirk Millar cross beyond Larne goalkeeper Conor Devlin.
The Inver Reds hit back with an immediate response. Mark Randall fired in a looping cross-come-shot on the volley, seemingly aiming to pick out striker David McDaid in front of goal, only for the ball to go through no mans land without a touch before nestling in the bottom corner.
Larne then took the lead after 16 minutes. Lee Lynch picked up possession in a bit of space in the middle before sending pacey striker David McDaid through on goal. This time there was no doubt of the goalscorer and McDaid produced a clinical, powerful finish beyond Rohan Ferguson from just inside the box.
Bastien Hery threatened for Linfield who were trying to find a leveller as the French maestro fired a well-struck shot just wide from distance. Shayne Lavery went even closer when Kirk Millar whipped in a low cross across goal with real force and striker Lavery just couldn’t get the desired contact as the ball flashed just wide of the far post.
Larne should have made it 3-1 just before the break but they passed up a great chance. David McDaid dispossessed a Linfield defender in the box before running free inside the box, squaring it for the unmarked Mark Randall who struck the crossbar from just ten yards out.
Half Time: Larne 2 –1 Linfield
There wasn’t much between the sides in the second half until Larne took a 3-1 lead on 71 minutes. Martin Donnelly put an outswinging free-kick into the box and defender Harry Flowers powered a header past Ferguson. The decision to award the free-kick was contested by unhappy Linfield players.
Larne were in total cruise control and Linfield didn’t look like causing them any problems. Lee Lynch was next to have a go as the hosts looked like adding to their lead, with the attacker curling a shot just wide from the edge of the box.
Soon after, substitute Ben Tilney caught a strike sweetly but the Larne wing back saw his rasping drive whistle just wide of Ferguson’s goal.
Apart from a few dangerous Kirk Millar crosses and Jordan Stewart’s early goal, the Blues asked no questions of Larne goalkeeper Conor Devlin, who somehow received the ‘Man of the Match’ award despite an easy night and a strong defensive showing from the hosts.
All in all, certainly a deserved win for Larne. David Healy will be frustrated with the result, performance and his team’s struggle to find a proper good, consistent run of form.
Full Time: Larne 3 – 1 Linfield