Loughgall 1 – 1 Larne

Title challengers Larne made the perfect start at Lakeview Park when they took the lead in the fourth minute; a cushioned header over the Loughgall defence allowed striker Mark Hillen to spring the offside trap and fire home from close range.

Loughgall regained composure as the half progressed and both sides played some excellent possession football without ever really threatening either goalkeeper.

The hosts equalised two minutes before the break from a set-piece. A corner was cleared back to its original taker Stuart Mallen who delivered pinpoint cross at the second attempt that was powerfully headed home by Ricky Copeland inside the penalty area.

The Harbour Rats were reduced to ten men in the 65th minute when Emmett Templeton was shown a straight red card for an unnecessary two-footed lunge at Jack Upritchard.

Despite having a man advantage for 25 minutes Loughgall failed to trouble Larne ‘keeper Joel Madison; their best chance to take the lead came in the 75th minute. Andy Devlin’s forward pass fell kindly for Marc McConnell to half-volley towards goal however the winger’s effort was well saved by Madison.

Loughgall: Buchanan, Devlin’s, Mallen, Copeland, Finlay, Ferguson, Dallas, Canning (Uprichard 82m), McConnell (Campbell 80m), Upritchard, Mullen. Unused subs: McCann, McMaster, Elliott.

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