25 Mar 2023
© Desmond Loughery/PressEye Coleraine's Conor McDermott in action with Andy Ryan of Larne

Larne took a step closer to a potential first league title, but champions Linfield remain hot on their heels while both Crusaders and Cliftonville picked up three points apiece.

Tiernan Lynch’s side made the trip north to face Coleraine at the Showgrounds and came away with a point in a scoreless draw with Oran Kearney’s side.

A game of few opportunities, the Bannsiders ended it with ten men following Aaron Jarvis’ sending off for an off the ball incident midway through the second half, while Larne almost snatched the win right at the end only for Gareth Deane to deny Thomas Maguire with a tremendous reflex save in the closing moments.

Larne are five points clear at the top going into the post-split fixtures but will face a chase to the finish from Linfield after they swept past Dungannon Swifts on Friday evening.

Chris McKee opened the scoring on 17 minutes before Ethan Devine doubled Linfield’s lead around the half-hour mark. Three goals early in the second half then put the game to bed with Joel Cooper, Devine again and Kirk Millar all scoring within four minutes of each other.

Cliftonville are a further two points behind after a narrow victory over Newry City at the Showgrounds.

Scoreless for 75 minutes, Ronan Hale opened the scoring with a finish into the bottom corner, before Donal Scullion levelled for City moments later. However, Ryan Curran popped up with the winner with nine minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, at Seaview, Crusaders swept to a three-goal defeat of Carrick Rangers.

All the goals came after the break, Ross Clarke opened the scoring on 66 minutes from close range followed by a Jordan Owens strike with ten minutes to go before Declan Caddell wrapped things up late on.