NIFL CHAMPIONSHIP: Larne miss out on top six by a point

Michael Smith and John McGuigan

Michael Smith and John McGuigan

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LARNE 0 WARRENPOINT TOWN 1

Larne missed out on a top six place by just a single point after they went down 1-0 to league leaders Warrenpoint.

Conor McMenamin  scored for Warrenpoint

Conor McMenamin scored for Warrenpoint

Both sides gave it their all in a hard fought ninety minutes but the main talking point from the game was the poor performance of the officials. Normally it is one team or the other who are complaining but both camps on this occasion were rightly annoyed at their performance.

The Reds gave a debut to goalkeeper Connor Malcolmson in a spirited performance which saw them match the visitors throughout the game. The first contentious decision came on 15 minutes. As the ball was played into the Point box James McCabe was clearly pushed in the back but the referee waved play on.

With 22 minutes gone Larne had a chance to grab the lead. A short back pass from Dermot McVeigh let Andrew Mooney in but his shot was well saved by Johnny Parr. The visitors hit back as Liam Bagnall skipped down the right.

His low cross broke to Connor McMennamin who was denied by a fine save from Malcolmson. Mooney then chased down a long ball at the other end but his shot failed to hit the target. A tussle between Larne’s Jerry Thompson and the visitors John McGuigan ended with an alleged head from the Point man.

The near side assistant somehow missed it much to the relief of the visitors bench who agreed they were lucky to have their man still on the pitch. The only goal of the game came with a minute of the half remaining.

A free kick from Josh Lynch was floated into the danger area to find McMennamin and his firm header flew into the net. Warrenpoint had the best of the chances after the break with McGuigan firing over the top from ten yards and McMennamin testing Malcolmson with a well struck shot.

The best chance for the home side fell to Mooney when he raced clear but unsure which option to choose the chance was wasted. Larne are home again this week in the first of their bottom six games when they host the Welders at 3.00pm.

LARNE: Malcolmson, Culbert , Thompson, Rodgers, McKenna, McGrandless (Henry 60), Irvine, Smith, Mooney, Malone (Fyfe 84), McCabe. Subs not used. McGoran, Rodgers, Madison.

WARRENPOINT: Parr, King, McVeigh, McGuigan, McMennamin, Murray, Lynch, Dane, Bagnall, Moan, Croskey. Subs: Maguire, Dempster, Donnelly, McKenna, Reilly.