Honours even for east Antrim Irish Premiership sides

Larne and Cliftonville drew 1-1 at Solitude. (Pacemaker).
Larne and Cliftonville drew 1-1 at Solitude. (Pacemaker).

Ben Wilson opened the scoring for the north Belfast outfit on 35 minutes before Lee Bonis equalised from the spot for the visitors on 43 minutes, with neither side able to find a winner in the second half.

Speaking to Larne’s media director Ian Cahoon after the Sports Direct Premiership clash, manager Tiernan Lynch said: “It was a difficult game and wasn’t a great performance. I think it’s one of those games where we’ve been crippled with injuries the last couple of weeks and we kind of had to put square pegs in round holes today.

"Great credit to them. I thought there were a lot of positives. We asked people to do things they weren’t comfortable doing, but they did it to the best of their ability and I thought they were superb.

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"It was a tough day, but I’m super proud of the players. This is not an easy place to come. The crowd got behind Cliftonville. There were times I felt we played some really good football and there were times I thought we lost our way a little bit, but we dug in and it was a strong point for us in the end. It took character- we rolled our sleeves up.”

Larne welcome Newry City to Inver Park on Saturday (3pm).

Carrick Rangers, who went into their tie against Linfield at Windsor Park on the back of a 9-0 loss against Crusaders and 4-0 defeat to Cliftonville, put in a strong display to earn a 3-3 draw with David Healy’s side.

David Cushley opened the scoring for Stuart King’s charges on 19 minutes, before Chris Shields drew the game level after converting a penalty on 26.

Matthew Clarke put the Blues 2-1 up on 34, but the teams went in level at the break thanks to a Danny Purkis goal on 36.

Ben Hall put Linfield 3-2 on 75, but Purkis bagged his second of the afternoon to ensure the spoils would be split.

Speaking to Carrick’s media team, King said: “When you lose 9-0, there were plenty of questions asked, but we were brave today and our game plan worked a treat. We’re delighted. For us to improve, we have to stop the silly goals.

"The reaction of the players after going behind was totally different to when we went behind against Crusaders and Cliftonville.

"They are all good lads. We got flak, but we took it on the chin and reacted positively.

"When Danny (Purkis) is in it, he’s a top Irish League striker.

"We’re not going to get too carried away. It’s a point. We now have four against the top six. We only got eight last season. We’ll stay grounded and we’ll prepare for next week.”

Carrick welcome Dungannon Swifts to Taylor’s Avenue on Friday (7.45pm).

Meanwhile, Ballyclare Comrades fell to a 1-0 loss away to Institute at the Brandywell in the Playr Fit NIFL Championship.

Shaun Leppard nodded in for the home side with half an hour left to play.

The Comrades host Ballinamallard United at Dixon Park on Saturday (3pm).