Larne boss Tiernan Lynch was pleased with how his two new faces impressed on their debuts during the Irish Cup win against Premiership side Newry City and he is hoping to add more to his squad before the end of the January transfer window.
The runaway Championship leaders led through an early David McDaid penalty before David Scullion’s shot was deflected into his own net by the unfortunate Dale Montgomery to put Larne 2-0 in front with 12 minutes to go.
City, with their side decimated by injuries, pulled one back in the last minute courtesy of Stephen Teggart and had a huge shout for a penalty deep into stoppage time when Darren King appeared to be taken down by Graham Kelly, but Referee Tim Marshall was unmoved.
Midfielder Lee Lynch and striker Benny Igiehon both made their first appearances for the Inver Park men and looked lively, with the former claiming the Man of the Match accolade.
“We had chances in the first half to maybe get another one or two goals. Big Benny and Davy had chances that they probably could and should have done better with. But Newry are a good side and they make it very difficult. There’s a lot of heart and hunger in that team and they now have that five months of playing Premiership football, which will have helped every single player.
“It was always going to be a very difficult game and we gave them the respect that I think they deserved. Thankfully we came out with our names in the hat,” said home Manager Lynch.
“I’m pleasantly surprised that Lee lasted as long as he did and he actually looked like he was getting stronger as the game went on. Benny tired as it was his first 90 minutes in probably four or five months, so we kind of expected that.
“I’m delighted with how they did. They give us an extra dimension and a bit of competition for places. We didn’t have Fuad Sule available to us and we didn’t have Tommy Stewart, who is back training, so we’re in a good place.”
McDaid converted from the spot just 10 minutes in when the lively Tomas Cosgrove was upended in the box by Noel Healy. Chances came and went for both sides after that, with the hosts having the bulk of them and being denied by poor finishing a good Newry defending, before Scullion eventually forced the second.
Teggart then set up a rousing finale as he slotted home Conall Delaney’s square ball before City were denied what they felt was a stonewall penalty at the death.
For Lynch, he wants his players to be on their mettle if they want to keep their place in a squad that is only going to be strengthened in the future.
“We’re always looking to strengthen. I’ve told the players that it’s going to take a couple of windows to get to exactly where we want to be, and even at that, we’ll never let complacency set in and we’ll always be looking to strengthen our weakest link, so make sure you’re not the weakest link and that’s how we’re going to approach it.
“There’s irons in fires. Whether they come off or not, nobody knows, but we are talking actively to a couple of players,” he added.