McDaid magic helps Larne see off Carrick Rangers
Larne 4 Carrick Rangers 0
A blistering first half display from Larne helped them to a comfortable 4-0 victory at home to derby rivals Carrick Rangers.
The two sides met just over a fortnight ago, which ended in a dour 0-0 Boxing Day draw, at the same venue.
There was no change of that scoreline being repeated, with Larne 3-0 up at the break. With Johnny McMurray’s opener, added to by Davy McDaid’s brace.
Rangers came into the game having won two of their last three games in league and cup, but they were without defensive pairing James Ferrin and Chris Rodgers and it showed.
Larne, meanwhile, were able to give a league debut to recent signing from Dundalk, Dean Jarvis.
The first opportunity of the evening came with just four minutes on the clock. Tomas Cosgrove’s delivered a deep cross from the right flank, which picked out Johnny McMurray on the edge of the box and his first-time volley whistled just the wrong side of the crossbar.
Larne took firm control of the game midway through the first half with a quickfire double.
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The first arrived on 16 minutes, thanks in no small part to great work from David McDaid.
Gerard Kelly’s mis-control fell kindly for McDaid, and he jinked his way past two Rangers players to cut inside the pitch before splitting the visitors’ defence 25 yards out.
McMurray was the grateful recipient and he showed a cool head to round Harry Doherty and roll it into the empty net, despite protests of offside from the visitors.
Niall Currie’s men had barely recovered from this, when Larne doubled their lead, four minutes later.
Tomas Cosgrove again got forward on the right, but this time was upended, leading to a free-kick for the home side, just outside the box on the right.
From the resulting set piece Marty Donnelly floated the ball into the box, with McDaid doing well to get across his man and flick a header past Doherty, which nestled just inside the far post.
The game settled down after this, with the home side looking to dominate possession and look after their two goal advantage.
The closest they came to extending their lead came with half an hour gone, from the most unlikely source. Goalkeeper Conor Devlin tried his luck from a free-kick 10 yards inside his own half, which opposite number Harry Doherty managed to hold on to at full stretch.
The third goal did arrive, however, right at end of the first half and it came thanks to quick thinking to Jarvis.
The former Derry City man spotted a gap in the Carrick rearguard and his inch perfect pass from the centre of the park allowed McDaid to run through on goal unchallenged, round Doherty and slot the ball into the empty net, with two minutes of stoppage time played.
McDaid had two good chances to complete his hat-trick in the opening minutes of the new half.
On 50 minutes, he took down Marty Donnelly’s fine lofted ball inside the box, but blasted over from a tight angle.
Two minutes later, it was Hughes who turned supplier, this time from the right. McDaid got a half volley away, but goalkeeper Doherty was out quickly to smother with his legs.
The fourth arrived in comical circumstances, with 14 minutes remaining. With pressure building, Rangers were unable to clear the ball with substitute Mark Randall blocking the the ball with his back, causing it to loop up over Doherty and into the net.
Donnelly hit the post with a curling effort shortly afterwards, while at the other end Michael Smith missed from close range for the visitors as it finished comfortably for Tiernan Lynch’s side.
Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Sule, McDaid, Donnelly, Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis (65 mins, Randall), McMurray (78 mins, Lynch)
Unused: Mitchell, Ramsey, Tilney, Graham, Gilmour
Carrick Rangers: Doherty, Carson, Neale, Surgenor, Loughran, Faulkner (62 mins, Hassin), G Kelly, Smith, Cherry (Magill 52 mins), Keke (Nixon 52 mins), Anderson
Unused subs: Nicholl, Doyle, McGreevy, E Kelly
Belfast Telegraph Digital