Three wins and a draw in their last four outings have steered Larne Tech Old Boys clear from the six-team relegation dogfight, ensuring 1A football at Dennis Harvey Park again next season.
And if the Larne boys win their three remaining fixtures, it might even be better than that, though it would rely on a real ‘Devon Loch’ style finish by the likes of Abbey Villa and, in particular, Crumlin United.
Manager Johnny Hastings was in fine form after Saturday’s 3-0 derby win at Barn United, pointing out: “We could have been three of four up at half-time, instead of just going in one up. We knew Barn would come back at us strong in the second half. But we weathered the storm and I thought we were comfortable winners.”
Neil Webb, who had one cleared off the line and blazed one over the bar, set the Old Boys on their way with a fifth-minute opener. Barn complained that the ball was out of play before Lee Thompson flicked it back.
But that’s how it stayedat the break and there was something of a Barn bombardment early in the second half and they were handed their chance when referee and one-time Barn player Ian Banks pointed to the spot.
However, Jackie Wallace pulled off an excellent double-save to deny Mark Tweedie. That double penalty save seemed to take the wind out of Barn’s sails and it was the Tech who cemented three points with two substitutes making their mark from the bench.
Reece McGinley rode three challenges before cutting the ball back to fellow sub Sean Ward to hammer into the far corner of the net. Minutes earlier, Niall McAllister had one harshly chalked off, presumably for a foul.
McGinley then rounded things off with Tech’s third.
Larne Tech OB: Wallace – M Hyslop (McNally), R Thompson, Devine, Steele – Campbell, Montgomery, N McAllister, Webb (McGinley) – Monaghan (Webb), L Thompson.