Larne players show 'character' to extend lead at top

Larne finished the weekend five points clear of second-placed Cliftonville after their fourth win on the bounce.

Tiernan Lynch’s side came from behind to defeat Dungannon Swifts 2-1 at Inver on Friday, before Cliftonville defeated Glentoran 1-0 on Sunday.

Ryan Mayse found the net for the visitors just before half time before a Paul O'Neill double (51 and 82) ensured all the points would be staying in east Antrim.

Speaking to the club’s media director Ian Cahoon, coach Gary Haveron said: “At half time the players were asked to come out and show their character and I think they did that. It was hard-fought, but well deserved in the end.

Gary Haveron. (Pic by Pacemaker).

"We wanted to get the win. It wasn’t a case of just wanting to get level. We wanted to score early doors to give ourselves time. When the goal came, it was a brilliant goal.

"You’re not going to win pretty every week, you’re not going to blow teams away in the first half and coast games out, you’re going to have to grind it. When you’re sitting at the top of the league, everyone pats you on the back on the way up, but when you get there everyone wants to shoot you down.

"We’ve to overcome that and be ready for that and that’s the challenge to the boys every game.”

Larne travel to Windsor Park to face Linfield tonight (7.45pm) before hosting Coleraine on Friday (7.45pm).

Haveron added: “Linfield got another good win and are showing a bit of form. For everyone saying they’ve had an indifferent start to the season, they’re very much in the mix at the top end of the table. We’ll hopefully go and give a good account of ourselves on Tuesday.”

Larne’s east Antrim neighbours Carrick Rangers also enjoyed success in the Danske Bank Irish Premiership at the weekend, winning 2-0 at Taylors Avenue against basement club Portadown.

Lloyd Anderson opened the scoring for the home side on the hour before Cameron Stewart scored inside the final 10 minutes to seal the win for Stuart King’s charges.

Speaking to the club’s media team after Saturday’s clash, King said: “I knew our quality would shine through. It’s another massive three points. We work hard on our set pieces, we know it’s a big asset, we’ve players who can go and attack the ball.

"That’s our sixth win at home and we’re only in November, it’s unbelieveable. To a man, my players are giving me everything. We’ve had our setbacks, but when we’re on it, we’re a competitive team in this league. We’re not going to get carried away, but I think people need to start showing a bit more credit.”

Next up for Carrick is a home match against Ballymena United on Saturday (3pm).

Meanwhile, Ballyclare Comrades came back three times to rescue a 3-3 draw away to Ards on Saturday in the Lough 41 NIFL Championship.

Adam Salley opened the scoring for Ards on 13, before Caomhan McGuinness equalised on 28.

Ards led at the break after Greg Hall’s goal on 42. Gary Donnelly scored for the Comrades on 60, before Salley scored from the spot on 63.

Donnelly scored his second on 76 to rescue a point for the south Antrim side.

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