Larne and Crusaders share the spoils at Inver

Larne dropped to third in the Danske Bank Irish Premiership standings following their 0-0 draw with fellow title-challengers Crusaders at Inver Park on Saturday.

The stalemate saw the east Antrim side, who won the Co Antrim Shield for the third year in a row on January 17, fall to third in the table, a point behind leaders Cliftonville and tied on 49 points with second-placed Linfield, although David Healy’s charges have a plus three goal advantage over Tiernan Lynch’s men. Larne have played a game fewer than the sides above them and fourth-placed Crusaders, who are three points behind.

Speaking to Larne’s media director Ian Cahoon after the tie, coach Gary Haveron said: “It was very frustrating. We’ve to find a way of unlocking defences. We have to be a bit smarter with our movements and in our rotations and we have to continue to work at it and take the chances when they come along.

"If we were clinical like that today, we come away with a win. We weren’t clinical with the one or two big chances you’re going to get in the big games.

Cian Bolger contests possession with Paul Heatley. (Stephen Hamilton/PressEye).

"If someone had said at the start of the week ahead of our league games, ‘would you take four points against Glentoran and Crusaders?’ you probably would’ve taken that because they are top sides.

"The games come thick and fast. It’s a difficult spell coming to the end of January and start of February. There are a lot of games and a lot of midweek games coming up. We’ve to make sure we’re ready for them and prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. We’ve to make sure that we go and put teams to the sword over the next couple of games.”

Carrick Rangers’ game away to basement side Portadown was postponed on Friday following a pitch inspection. A new date for the clash is still to be announced.

Meanwhile, Ballyclare Comrades suffered a 5-1 defeat away to Harland and Wolff Welders in the Lough 41 NIFL Championship on January 21.

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Speaking to the club’s media officer, Zoe Tisdale, manager Stephen Small said: “The performance was abject. I’ve told the players that. Hopefully they can take responsibility for the performace today. It just wasn’t good enough, bar a 10-minute spell at the start of the second half.”