Larne keep pressure on leaders Cliftonville with 'professional' win

Larne recorded a 2-0 win over basement side Portadown at Inver Park on Tuesday (January 24) to remain one point behind Danske Bank Irish Premiership leaders Cliftonville.

Cian Bolger opened the scoring for the home side on 20 minutes with Joe Thomson finding the net on 52 minutes to ensure all three points would be staying in east Antrim.

The win keeps Larne one point behind Cliftonville, although Tiernan Lynch’s charges have played a game fewer than the north Belfast side.

Speaking to the club’s media director Ian Cahoon after the clash, Lynch explained: “It wasn’t an easy game, they never are. We knew we’d to be at our best. We’d to make sure that coming out of it was three points. I’m probably a little bit disappointed we weren’t a wee bit more clinical on occasions, but great credit to them, I thought our work rate was excellent. I thought our off the ball stuff was superb. We’re creating the chances, we’re getting into the areas and I think it’ll be a matter that the goals will come. At the other end we’d another clean sheet so I’m delighted.”

Cian Bolger opened the scoring for Larne. (Andrew McCarroll/Pacemaker Press).

Next up for Larne is an away trip to face Newry on Sunday (3pm).

Lynch added: “If it needs to be a fight, we’ll put the fight up and if we get to play football then hopefully we’ll do that also.”

Larne’s east Antrim neighbours Carrick Rangers fell to a 1-0 defeat on the road against Coleraine.

Matthew Shevlin got the only goal of the game from the spot on 70 minutes.

Stuart King’s charges welcome Glenavon to Taylor’s Avenue on Saturday (3pm).

Meanwhile, Ballyclare Comrades threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Lough 41 NIFL Championship leaders Annagh United at Dixon Park.

Cillin Gilmour scored twice after the break for Stephen Small’s side (46 and 51 minutes), but goals from Craig Taylor (86) and Niall McGinley (90+6) meant that the teams would share the spoils.

Speaking to the club’s media officer Zoe Tisdale, Gilmour said: “It definitely feels like a defeat. They put us under the cosh for the whole of the second half, which is probably why they are top of the league. They grinded it out and got their point.”

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Larne and Crusaders share the spoils at Inver

Ballyclare face Knockbreda at Dixon Park on Saturday (3pm).