Belfast Telegraph

Lack of goals costing Larne dearly, bemoans boss Lynch

Larne 1-2 Cliftonville

In range: Cliftonville's Conor McMenamin gets a shot away under pressure from Davy McDaid and Mark Randall
In range: Cliftonville's Conor McMenamin gets a shot away under pressure from Davy McDaid and Mark Randall

By Ian Cahoon

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch has called on his side to be more clinical after Saturday's frustrating defeat at home to Cliftonville.

Lynch saw his side put in an impressive performance against the league leaders, but they came away empty handed after a 2-1 reversal.

They also drew a blank in the Boxing Day draw with Carrick Rangers and, ahead of the New Year's Day trip to Ballymena United, the manager is hoping his men will rediscover their shooting boots in time for their first game of 2020.

"We talk about it every day, we're not scoring enough goals," he said.

"It's something we have to try to put right. We need to score more goals and win more games.

"I'm gobsmacked that we didn't something out of the (Cliftonville) match.

"We were really poor on Boxing Day and we owed the fans a performance. We got the performance but we didn't get the result.

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"We dominated the game but, if truth be told, two mistakes cost us the game.

"While I'm hugely disappointed that we didn't get something from Saturday's game, at the same time I am hugely proud of their performance.

"As I said to them in the changing room after the match, if we get that level of work ethic, intensity, pressing every single week then we'll not stay sixth for very long. It's about doing those sort of things every single week though and, if we do, then we won't lose too many games."

Cliftonville, meanwhile, moved three points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership after the victory.

They got off to the best possible start when Joe Gormley headed them in front after a Ryan Curran cross with just 17 seconds gone.

The shocked hosts recovered well to draw level three minutes later though, when Jeff Hughes looped his header over the impressive Richard Brush, this time from Mark Randall's delivery.

Despite Larne taking the game to their visitors, it was Cliftonville who sealed all three points when Conor McMenamin applied the finishing touch to a swift counter attack on 53 minutes.

The hosts pushed for the equaliser, but it was Cliftonville who came closest to the next goal, when Curran struck the base of the post in the final 10 minutes.

Reds boss Paddy McLaughlin - whose side host Glenavon on Wednesday afternoon - was delighted with the victory, but refuses to get carried away with the three point cushion over Linfield, Coleraine and Glentoran at the summit.

"You're only one game away from being level with someone behind you, so I don't think too many people will read too much into (being three points clear)," he maintained.

"We're delighted to be top and we're doing all we can to stay there for as long as we can, but we won't be getting carried away.

"We're just over halfway through the league. The players and the fans are grounded and they are realistic.

"Maybe after another month or so if we are still there, or close to the leading pack then you could start to look at it.

"At the minute one game could change it all, so that's the way we're looking at it."

LARNE: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Ramsey (McEleney, 65 mins), Sule, Randall (Lynch, 57 mins), McDaid, Donnelly, Hughes, McMurray. Unused subs: Mitchell, Tilney, Lynch, McKendry, Graham, Gilmour.

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Breen, Harney, C Curran, R Curran, Bagnall, Doherty, Gormley (Maguire, 82 mins), McMenamin (Wilson, 78 mins), A Donnelly. Unused subs: Dunne, McKee, Foster, Rocks, McCurry.

Referee: Jamie Robinson (Lurgan)

Man of the match: Richard Brush

Match rating: 7/10

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