Three Barn players sent off and one from each side ending up in hospital sounds like a real ‘argy-bargy’ derby, but it wasn’t quite like that, as Larne Tech made it four Division 1A succesess on the bounce with a 3-1 win.
With the raft of yellow cards for both sides, it was perhaps not unexpected there would be the odd double-booking, though Tech manager Johnny Hastings maintained: “Referee Joe Watson got the big decisions right, even our bookings I couldn’t argue with.
“Barn made it tough for us and while we were awful in the first half, we still could have been leading at the break. But we really battered them in the second half and, in the end, eight wouldn’t have flattered us.”
United’s Jim Pherson questioned the wisdom of a referee being assessed for a local derby. “In matches like this, you have to make allowances and it meant the ref had to play everything by the book. I just thought he was over officious. It was far from a dirty match, certainly not compared to some of the derbies of the past.
“With 10 men, we would have won the match. We were comfortable, we were sitting in, but it was the second sending-off that killed us.”
Barn got off to a dream start with Kane’s able strike inside the opening seconds.
On 17 minutes, however, out came the red card, as Barn keeper Dean Haggan brought down Lee Thompson just outside the box. Dee Wakeham took over the custodial duties.
Yet the visitors looked comfortable apart from an opportunist strike from Ciaran Kelly which thundered off the bar. It was Kelly’s last real contribution as he and Barn’s Arron Anderson were taken to hospital after a clash of heads.
Barn’s 10 were reduced to nine just after the hour, following a second yellow for Rob Armstrong. Yet they held on another 12 minutes before Reece McGinley fired past stand in keeper Wakeham.
Seven minutes later, the Tech inched in front when Gary Workman’s cross careered in off Barn’s David Gibb. Second later, Smyth’s penalty box trip on Thompson earning him his second booking, as McGinley stroked home the resultant spot-kick.
And just the thickness of the upright denied McGinley a third successive home hat-trick, although the eight men could have set the nerves jangling late on when Matt McDonald was twice denied by keeper Keith Wilson.