Larne returned to top flight football with a resounding win over Warrenpoint on Saturday.
Martin Donnelly was denied his first effort just five minutes into the game when his shot went over the post. It wasn’t long before he scored Larne’s first goal taking advantage of a defensive error by Warrenpoint. His team mate Jeff Hughes also pounced on a gross defensive error just one minute from half time when he was presented with an empty goal. Warrenpoint didn’t get much of a chance to get started in the second half with David McDaid scoring the Blues third goal just a minute into the second half and added a second just four minutes later. Mark Randall scored a fantastic goal for the hosts when scored from 40 yards after spotting Beerat Turker off his line. Martin Donnelly finished Warrenpoint off scoring his second of the evening and the 5th for Larne in the game overall. Stephen McDonnell will have to answer some hard questions over the many errors his defenders made in this game.
Crusaders also got off to great start with a 3-0 defeat of Carrick Rangers at Seaview. Carrick had the first clear opportunity to score but was intercepted by Jarlath O’Rourke. Jordan Owens broke the deadlock just 22 minutes in when Jordan Owens headed in Jordan Forsythe’s throw in. Both sides traded chances but it was Crus who bagged another goal when Paul Heatley chipped the ball into the net after navigating around the Carrick defense. Carrick didn’t give up and Sean Ward was well placed to clear another Nixon effort off the line but just missed narrowly.
Crusaders sealed the deal with a 3-0 win after substitute Ross Clarke scored from the corner of the box into stoppage time.
The Blues began their title defense with a 3-1 victory over Institute at Windsor Park. Institute opened the scoring after just six minutes when Gareth Brown was fouled by keeper Rohan Ferguson, giving Joe McCready the opportunity to net the subsequent spot-kick. Linfield equalised just six minutes later when Shane Laverty crossed to Kirk Millar who put it away at close range. Just five minutes from half time Jordan Stewart scored Linfield’s second from a Bastien Héry’s assist.
Ryan McGivern made it 3-1 just five minutes into the second half when he headed in a ball from a Matthew Clarke corner. Linfield had other opportunites that they failed to convert and Institute came close a few times also, in particular Joe McCready whose effort when the ball came off a back post and was saved by Linfield’s keeper Rohan Ferguson.
So Larne, Crusaders and Linfield all secured three points on the opening day of the Danske Bank Premiership, what an exciting start to the season!
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