Carrick Rangers will host Institute in the next round of the Irish Cup after they edged out Larne 2-1 at Inver Park.
A first-half penalty from Miguel Chines put the visitors one up before James McCabe levelled for Larne in the 63rd minute. Conor McCloskey’s header, with a little ovber 15 minutes left on the clock, secured the win for Gary Haveron’s side.
“I am delighted to come away from here with a win as Larne have been going really well,” Haveron told the Times. “We haven’t had a lot of games recently and some of the players were struggling especially as Larne really went for it in the closing stages.
“I was delighted to see the big crowd tonight even though it wasn’t a great spectacle as conditions were difficult for both sides and it was a really tight game.”
Both teams went close with free-kicks in the opening 10 minutes before Carrick stopper Brian Neeson raced off his line to deny McCabe after he had latched onto a deflection.
Rangers captain Aaron Harmon had a chance to break the deadlock after 20 minutes. His first effort was blocked but when the rebound fell to him he blasted over the bar from 12 yards.
The visitors thought they had taken the lead on 34 minutes. A McCloskey corner caused problems for the home defence who scrambled it clear despite the Rangers players claimed it had crossed the line.
Two minutes later Carrick were ahead. A challenge by Stuart Scott on Aidan Watson was adjudged by the assistant to have been a foul. It looked harsh and despite John Connolly’s best efforts, Chines’ spot-kick crept inside the left-hand upright.
Neeson then produced another top-drawer save, blocking Stuart McMullan’s effort before recovering to thwart Stuart King.
Larne levelled things up after 63 minutes when McCabe forced the ball home from a King corner.
It was anybody’s game at this stage but it was the visitors who got what proved to be the winner 10 minutes later. Ex-Larne player Ryan Kane delivered a corner from the left and McCloskey nipped in at the near post to head into the net.
Larne then threw everything into attack and should have levelled when the ball broke the Michael McClean eight yards out. He couldn’t get any power behind his shot which failed to trouble Neeson.
In the final minute Ciaran Murray broke clear for the home side but his shot was too close to the keeper.
LARNE: Connolly, Scott (Todd 77), Smith, McClean, Reynolds (Robinson 66), McMullan, G. Gillan, E. Gillan, King, McCabe, Murray. Subs not used: C.Gillan, Stitt
CARRICK RANGERS: Neeson, Smith, Traynor (Lynch 63), Donaghy, Kelly, Taggart, Harmon, Watson (Kane 49), Chines, Roy, McCloskey (Lagan 82). Subs not used: McKenna, Arthur.
Referee: Keith Kennedy