Local derbies rarely go according to the form book and so it proved on Saturday at Dennis Harvey Park where Larne Tech Old Boys, on the back of two successive defeats, grabbed all three points against a Barn United side, unbeaten in their last seven league outings.
As Tech boss Johnny Hastings remarked: “It just shows how competitive a league 1A is.
“Barn are on a good run, although the two defeats we had at UUJ and Crumlin United were really close, they could have went either way.
“There was nothing between the sides. We had more of the ball and played some good stuff, but didn’t work their ‘keeper and the only two saves in the match came from our own Keith Wilson.
“Probably a true reflection of the game was that the only goal was a scrappy own goal. But it’s nice to get the three points. All good!”
Opposite number, Jim Pherson, agreed: “There was absolutely nothing in it. I thought we shaded it in the first-half.
“The Tech had a lot of possession but we restricted them to a couple long-range efforts that weren’t even on target, whereas their keeper made two excellent saves in one-on-ones against Mark Tweedie. Generally, both defences were on top.
“It wasn’t the full-blooded contest of old – maybe because the pitch was in great nick and both sides tried to play a bit of football – but it wasn’t a great match.”
The all-important goal came on 65 minutes, with the only real chance the Tech had. Defender Andy Hall, slashed a dangerous Lee Thompson right-wing cross into his own net.
Five minutes later, the Tech were reduced to 10 men when Aaron Mulvenna saw a second yellow turn to red; the Larne boys claiming a case of mistaken identity in that the real offender for the harmless enough looking tug was fellow midfielder Gary Montgomery.
However, as Barn boss Pherson lamented: “It meant the Tech were content to keep it tight and just hit us on the break and we didn’t have the imagination to break them down. We didn’t do enough and just ran out of ideas.”
Matthew Devine and Reece Moore were certainly impressive at the heart of that defence, while Lee Thompson was always an outlet up front.
On Saturday, the Tech travel to Orangefield, while Barn are back in Larne, at the Cliff to meet St Patrick’s YM.