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Larne claim bragging rights as promotion hopes slide

Lisburn Distillery 1 Larne 2

By Keith Bailie

While the big Championship game of the day took place at Clandeboye Park, Lisburn Distillery and Larne fought it out for mid-table bragging rights at New Grosvenor.

Both clubs have demonstrated their ambition by applying for a Championship Licence, neither have been able to sustain a promotion challenge on the field. Although Distillery and Larne of two of the biggest clubs in the Championship, their indifferent form on the field is understandable as both sides are in the middle of a rebuilding process.

On this occassion it was David McAlinden's Larne who claimed the points, with two second half goals. Neil Alderdice had given the Whites the lead before the break, but goals from Darren McNamee and Paul Maguire in the second half gave the Invermen the win.

Whites Assistant Manager Andy Harwood, who has been looking after the team in the absence of ill manager Tommy Kincaid, said: “I think we were slightly unfortunate not to take something from the game.

“We were undone by two set-pieces and that's obviously very frustrating for us. I can't fault the players' efforts but some of our more experienced players made errors and that cost us.

“We've a small squad and a young team. If you look at our squad of 20, just under half of them are teenagers. This is all a great experience for those young players, but it's been an up and down season for us.”

Kincaid returned to the touchlines for Larne defeat, after Harwood had taken charge for the last three weeks.

Harwood said: “Looking after the team has certainly been an experience. It's been tough because a lot of the guys have known Tommy for a long time, so they've been very down. But we've kept things going and that's the main thing.”

Distillery broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time as a floated free kick was flicked in by Neil Alderdice’s head. The defender has been in fine form in front of goal this season.

The equaliser arrived not long into the second half, and it once again came from a set-piece. This time it was Larne man Darren McNamee that converted the corner kick.

The winner came from a powerful Robbie White free kick which was parried by Distillery goalkeeper Ryan McBride. Paul Maguire was on hand to push home the rebound and secure the points.

Next Saturday sees Distillery take on Institute in the league. In form Institute will be favourites for the game, but Harwood believes the Whites can cause an upset.

“We've played Stute twice this year and they haven't beaten us yet. Like us, they play passing football and I think that helps us. I'm confident we can give ourselves a good account of ourselves.”

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