Larne players show ‘belief’ to earn late win over Glentoran

Larne moved three points clear of Linfield at the top of the Sports Direct Irish Premiership standings following late drama in Tuesday’s round of fixtures.
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The east Antrim side won 2-1 against Glentoran at the Bet McLean Oval, getting their winner thanks to an own goal from Jonathan Russell on 90+5 minutes.

Andy Ryan had fired the reigning Irish Premier League champions in front on eight minutes, but the tie was level on 57 minutes when Cian Bolger found his own net.

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Bolger was central to his side’s winner late on, playing the ball into the Glentoran box, where it was put into the home net by Russell.

Paul O'Neill celebrates Larne's late winner at the Oval. (Pic: Pacemaker).Paul O'Neill celebrates Larne's late winner at the Oval. (Pic: Pacemaker).
Paul O'Neill celebrates Larne's late winner at the Oval. (Pic: Pacemaker).

Meanwhile, second-placed Linfield conceded an equaliser on 90+7 to draw 2-2 with Coleraine at Windsor Park.

Coleriane led at the break thanks to a Jamie McGonigle strike on 44. Matthew Fitzpatrick made it 1-1 on 52 minutes, before Chris Shields scored from the spot to put David Healy’s side 2-1 up.

Matthew Shevlin popped up deep in stoppage time to draw the game level. The result in south Belfast means that Larne open up a three-point gap over their title challengers.

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Larne face Linfield at Windsor Park on April 22, knowing a win would see them claim the Irish Premiership title for the second season in a row.

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Larne preparing for ‘difficult’ match against Glentoran

Speaking to the club’s media director Ian Cahoon after their game on Mersey Street, Larne manager Tiernan Lynch said: “I can’t put it into words. It’s the highs and lows in the space of 30 seconds.

"It wasn’t a great performance from us. I thought we chased the game in the second half a little bit, lost our way in terms of our calmness and composure and our football.

"I’ve said to the players at the end, the one thing we did have, and great credit to them, and we reaped the rewards for it, we never gave up. We had that belief. I think if we had lost that belief and that real desire, that wouldn’t have happened, so great credit to them.

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"We probably got a little bit carried away with ourselves at the end and just the emotion, so it’s now time to calm down again and regroup. This is not over yet. We haven’t won anything. It was three points and that’s all it was. We’ve got to dust ourselves off, get our recovery for a day or two and then get ready to prepare for Monday night (v Linfield at Windsor Park, 7.45pm).

"We kept believing and we just needed that one more chance. Sometimes they fall for you and sometimes they don’t. Thankfully it did tonight."

Ahead of Monday’s potential title-decider, Lynch added: “I think if every single person in Larne isn’t at this game on Monday night, I’ll be hugely disappointed. We need to get out there in our numbers. We need you to get behind us. We need all the support we can get. All the players talk about it, we need that ‘12th man’ and we need that support.”