Loughgall secured their place in the Tennent’s Irish Cup 6th round, where they will face PSNI, thanks to a fantastic high-scoring win over Larne. Warner Mullen’s double along with goals from Aaron Walsh, Jamie Rea and Daniel Ryan saw the Villagers gain revenge on the side that thumped them 7 – 3 in October.
Loughgall welcomed back Stuart Mallen, Daniel Ryan and Marcus Dallas back into the starting line-up after last weeks disappointing Intermediate Cup exit to Moyola Park.
Both sides has early chances to score in a very open first half; firstly, after five minutes, Jamie Rea was released clear from the half-way line. Bearing down on goal at an angle he dragged his low shot just past the far post. Then Larne striker Ciaran Murray’s effort from inside the penalty area was denied by an excellent save from goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan in the 12th minute.
The visitors broke the deadlock with a wonderful goal on 14 minutes after a corner fell for Thomas Robinson. From the edge of the penalty area, the winger sweetly struck into the top corner giving Buchanan no chance.
Loughgall hit back only two minutes later with a fine goal when Aaron Walsh won the ball in a challenge 25 yards from Larne’s goal. He then hit a first-time shot that curled beyond ‘keeper Paddy Flood into the corner of the net.
And five minutes later the Villagers took the lead when strike partners Daniel Ryan and Warner Mullen combined for the latter to pick his spot in the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Loughgall extended their advantage in the 28th minute when Mullen set-up Ryan whose shot from inside the penalty area came back against the post, with ‘keeper Flood beaten, and Rea fired in the rebound from close range.
The hosts netted again just before the break to cap a fantastic first-half attacking performance when Rea, Ryan and Mullen combined again for a well-worked goal. Rea’s incisive pass into Ryan allowed him the time to pick out strike partner Mullen to volley home at the back post.
Loughgall put the game beyond any doubt seven minutes into the second period when Daniel Ryan got a reward for his excellent performance. Stuart Mallen hit a perfect diagonal ball to allow the pacy forward Ryan to race clear and smash the ball home at the front post.
Larne grabbed a goal back five minutes later when Guillaume Keke scored at the second attempt after Buchanan’s initial save, however it proved to be nothing more than a consolation as the Loughgall defence comfortably saw out the remainder of the game.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Taylor, Mallen, Copeland, Hudson, Walsh, Ferguson, Dallas (Henderson 87m), Mullen, Ryan, Rea. Unused subs: Uprichard, Dane, McMahon.
Larne: Flood, Bradley, McMullen, McClean, Robinson (McGonnell 57m), Donnelly (McGrandless 34m), G Gillan, Irvine (E Gillan 85m), Maguire, Keke, Murray. Unused subs: Stitt, McCabe.