Larne 2-1 Glentoran
Larne recorded their first win over Glentoran in 33 years to bring the title-challengers’ 15-game unbeaten run to a shuddering halt.
It took Johnny McMurray’s brave stoppage time goal to earn the victory for the Invermen in a game played in front of a bumper crowd.
Tiernan Lynch’s side put in a strong first-half performance, only for the game to remain goalless at the break.
Albert Watson’s own goal early in the early second period looked ominous for the hosts, but they came roaring straight back through Lee Lynch, before McMurray’s decisive goal with just seconds to spare.
Bossman Lynch couldn’t hide his delight.
“I couldn’t be more pleased,” he beamed.
“The boys carried out the gameplan to a tee and we moved it around so well. Everything we asked of them, we got.
“In the first-half, I felt we were magnificent, albeit we didn’t have a goal to show for it.
“We were gutted when we went 1-0 down, but we showed great character to come from behind and get the win in the end.”
The victory comes just a week after Larne’s heaviest defeat of the season, a 3-0 reversal away to Crusaders.
“I gave the boys a difficult time after last week, because we let ourselves down,” he added.
“I didn’t have to say too much because the boys knew more than anybody that we needed a response.
“They knew they had to put a performance in there and they did it.”
Paddy McClean had the ball in the net for Glentoran after 15 minutes, but the flag was up for offside.
In truth, it was broadly against the run of play, with the home side going close through McMurray and Mark Randall.
It was the Glens who put themselves ahead on 51 minutes, when Caolan Marron’s inviting cross was headed into his own net by Watson.
Larne bounced back within six minutes, however, when McMurray picked up the ball on the end of his own box and raced to the opposite end of the pitch before slipping possession to Lee Lynch, who took a touch to compose himself before slipping it past Marijan Antolovic.
That looked to have ensured a share of the spoils until injury-time when McMurray bravely threw himself at Tomas Cosgrove’s cross to notch the winner when the ball came back off his face from Antolovic’s punch — a collision that saw the striker stretchered off.
Glens boss Mick McDermott couldn’t fault his men.
“I’m sure the fans enjoyed watching it, I enjoyed watching it on the sidelines,” he said.
“They created a few chances, we created a few chances and it could have gone either way, even with Larne’s possession and the way they knocked it around.
“We’ll suffer for a day or so because we’ve lost, but that’s football.
“I told the boys afterwards they were excellent, so we’ll get ready to go again.”
LARNE: Devlin 7, Flowers 7, Watson 7, Sule 9, Randall 7 (McDaid, 71 mins, 7), Donnelly 7, Lynch 8, Mitchell 8 (Hughes, 88 mins, 6) Cosgrove 7, Jarvis 7, McMurray 7 (Kelly, 90 mins, 6). Unused subs: Mitchell, Ramsey, Tilney, Gilmour.
Glentoran: Antolovic 8, Garrett 6 (Cowan, 24 mins, 7), Kane 7, Peers 7, Gallagher 8, McClean 7, Nasseri 6, O’Neill (Van Overbeek, 65 mins, 7), Plum 7 (O’Connor, 75 mins 6), Mitchell 7, Marron 8. Unused subs: Morris, Frazer, Pepper, Crowe.
Referee: Steven Gregg (Ballyclare) 7