07 Apr 2023
© Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press Micheal Glynn celebrates opening the scoring for Larne

It was a good Friday for the sides occupying the top and bottom spots of the Danske Bank Premiership after both Larne and Portadown picked up significant victories at home.

Larne now stand potentially one game away from clinching a first ever league title after a two-goal defeat of Glentoran at Inver Park.

Both goals came early in the game, with Micheal Glynn opening the scoring after a quarter-of-an-hour when he kept his composure after Paul O’Neill had touched on a Tomas Cosgrove cross.

Then, five minutes after that, Glynn turned provider with a cross into the area for Lee Bonis to turn and fire into the top corner from close range.

Larne’s two title challengers both dropped points at home.

Linfield were held to a scoreless draw by Crusaders while, across the city, Cliftonville needed a stoppage time Ronan Hale strike to earn a point from Coleraine’s visit to Solitude.

The Bannsiders needed just four minutes to open the scoring when Lyndon Kane found the net from distance with a spectacular strike past Nathan Gartside, a lead they held until Hale levelled in the closing moments of the first half.

Andy Scott restored Coleraine’s lead on the hour after confusion in the Reds defence but Hale came to Cliftonville’s rescue right at the end with a deflected set piece.

At the other end of the table Portadown gave their survival hopes a huge shot in the arm with victory over Irish Cup finalists Ballymena United at Shamrock Park.

Cathair Friel bagged the only goal of the game after ten minutes with a glancing header at the near post from Alberto Balde’s corner.

And Newry City also collected an important three points thanks to James Teelan’s double away to Carrick Rangers.

He broke the deadlock on 25 minutes after getting on the end of a long ball forward to fire across the face of goal into the net from a tight angle, before doubling up before the break at the back post – and this after Newry had been reduced to ten men with Ryan McGivern’s dismissal.

Meanwhile, at Mourneview Park, Glenavon inched closer to a potential European play-off spot with a point against Dungannon Swifts.

Matthew Fitzpatrick bagged the opening goal on eight minutes with a finish into the bottom right corner, a lead the Lurgan Blues held until nine minutes from time when substitute Corey Smith nodded home from a corner.