Ex-Linfield striker puts Larne ahead but Jordan Stewart grabs equaliser for the champions
Larne’s Navid Nasseri described last night’s 1-1 home draw with champions Linfield as ‘bittersweet’ after Jordan Stewart’s late equaliser for the Blues stopped the winger from being the matchwinner against his old club.
Having come on in the 65th minute, Nasseri showed composure to score on 79 after sensational play from fellow Larne substitute Davy McDaid and that looked as if it would be the difference in a poor Irish Premiership game in which the Blues rarely threatened.
Enter former Larne hero Marty Donnelly from the bench in the closing stages.
Donnelly moved to Linfield in the summer as part of the deal that took Nasseri from Windsor Park to Inver Park and with 88 minutes on the clock it was his wonderful free-kick delivery that gave another substitute Stewart the opportunity from six yards out to head in and earn David Healy’s men a draw to keep them in second place in the table and move one point behind leaders Cliftonville.
Post match, Nasseri dedicated his goal to his uncle who went into a coma at the weekend.
“Football works in mysterious ways. Yesterday (Sunday) late at night my uncle went into a coma so I said to my parents I would dedicate it to him if I scored. He supported me a lot growing up as a kid with football so that one was for him,” said Nasseri, who won the double with the Blues last term after moving to Windsor Park from Glentoran.
He added: “It was bittersweet coming on and scoring and then them getting a late equaliser. It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth but it is what it is.
“Where we are aiming to be that is two points dropped for us. I think we will have to clean up in certain areas and take the positives from the game.”
Up until the frantic finish the much anticipated fixture was dull to watch for the Sky Sports audience and the full house crowd at Inver Park, which included former Northern Ireland hero Iain Dowie and ex-Welsh midfielder Robbie Savage, who were guests of Larne owner Kenny Bruce.