Ben Doherty shoots down former club as Larne win enthralling opener

Ben Doherty came back to haunt his old club Coleraine as he scored a crucial goal to help Larne to an opening night victory.

By Steven Crawford
Friday, 27th August 2021, 10:05 pm
Kofi Balmer celebrates his goal during the game at Inver Park, Larne Photo Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Press
Kofi Balmer celebrates his goal during the game at Inver Park, Larne Photo Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Press

Doherty added the crucial third as the Inver men ran out 4-2 winners in an enthralling encounter.

It looked both sides would have to settle for a draw after goals from Kofi Balmer, Aaron Traynor, Matthew Shevlin and David McDaid had the game on a knife edge.

But with two minutes to go Doherty struck before Lee Lynch added a fourth in the 90th minute.

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Larne handed league debuts to five of their new recruits - Rohan Ferguson, Kofi Balmer, Cian Bolger, Navid Nasseri and Ben Doherty.

Doherty of course was lining out against his former side with Conor McKendry, who moved to The Showgrounds as part of the deal, making his Coleraine bow.

He was joined in the starting line up by Rodney Brown, who was making his second debut for the Bannsiders.

The visitors should have broken the deadlock on 15 after a superb move started by Glackin’s impressive run forward.

He fed the ball out to Aaron Traynor who picked out Matthew Shevlin in the six yard box, but Ferguson produced a magnificent block.

The ball was half cleared with Oran Kearney’s men winning it back in midfield and Evan Tweed forcing the keeper into another save from distance.

Doherty then let fly from distance but Gareth Deane saved well at his near post.

Twelve minutes before the break we were treated to another superb piece of goalkeeping as Deane somehow tipped over Mark Randall’s close-range header.

But the keeper was beaten from the resulting corner as Balmer nodded in to give the hosts the lead.

Deane was called into action again three minutes after the restart as he got down well to palm away Randall’s low shot.

And it proved vital as Traynor levelled things up on 51 minutes heading home a cross from fellow full back Kane.

Tempers then boiled over after a poor challenge from McDaid on Traynor. The Larne player picked up a yellow but Winkie Murphy and Tim McCann were both dismissed after the melee.

As we moved into the final quarter it was the visitors who edged in front asShevlin powered home a header from a McKendry free kick.

The lead lasted only five minutes though as McDaid fired in from close range after a great knock down by Hughes.

With two minutes to go Coleraine failed to deal with a ball across the box, it fell for Doherty who fired a low drive past Deane.

And in the last minute Larne caught the visitors on the break with Lee Lynch racing clear to add a fourth.