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Whites book their place in Intertoto

Lisburn Distillery booked their place in next season's Intertoto Cup following their 2-1 win at Larne secured them fourth spot, while other results ensured Larne - who finished with nine men - will finish above the bottom two.

Andrew Kilmartin and Gary Browne struck on 13 and 14 minutes respectively to give the Whites victory, with Mark Miskimmon pulling one back for the Inver Park men as the scoring was wrapped up inside the first 20 minutes of the game.

Distillery will now await today's draw for the Intertoto Cup with interest and while that will dictate which country they will be off to in June, such is the nature of the competition that their actual opponents may not be confirmed for a few weeks yet.

Whites manager Paul Kirk was delighted with the result, but not impressed with the performance of his side.

"We were nervous, but started off fabulously well," he said.

"We moved the ball and created chances.

"Whenever Larne got their goal, we stopped and spent more of our time defending instead of taking the game to them.

"Maybe the thought of getting into Europe was a factor, but the display wasn't the important thing today as we got the result and these players deserve to get their chance to play in Europe."

It was a frustrating day for home manager Graham McConnell as he saw former Distillery player Damien McLaughlin sent-off, followed by Ross Black.

McLaughlin was shown a straight red following a clash with Distillery goalkeeper Philip Matthews, who somehow escaped with only a yellow.

Black then received his second yellow in the final minute.

In addition to that McConnell was incensed when his team were denied a penalty after Glenn Hand was held back in the box.

Referee Hugh Carvill appeared to play advantage only to then rule out Miskimmin's goal for offside.

"I wasn't impressed with the officials and I really believed we deserved something from the game which we controlled," said McConnell.

"There were a lot of positives in our display as we controlled the game for 70 minutes.

"When I took over the aim was to avoid the bottom two and we have done that with a game to spare, which is a massive achievement for a small club like Larne."

Larne striker Bertie Fulton thought they didn't have the rub of the green.

"I thought we should have had a penalty late on and we had chances to score, but couldn't put them away," was how Fulton summed things up.

"We are slow starters and were left with a lot to do at 2-0 down after only 14 minutes, but even when we went down to nine men we were still creating chances."

Belfast Telegraph


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