09 Mar 2024

It was a day of huge results at the top and bottom of the Sports Direct Premiership, as well as the jockeying for position in the middle of the table.

Leaders and defending champions Larne inched a point further clear at the top but were held to a scoreless draw with Coleraine at The Showgrounds.

Despite both sides have their chances, it fell to Matthew Shevlin to perhaps come closest to grabbing the winner after being picked out by Jamie Glackin in the closing moments but could only volley wide of the far post.

At the other end of the table Newry City bagged what could be a massive victory over Carrick Rangers at the Loughview Leisure Arena.

Fra McCaffrey grabbed what proved to be the only goal of the game for Barry Gray’s side with eight minutes remaining with a close range finish after Lorcan Forde had cut the ball back into his path.

That win moved City to within two points of Ballymena United in the battle to avoid the automatic relegation spot after the Sky Blues went down 4-2 at home to Crusaders.

Adam Lecky opened the scoring for the Crues on 11 minutes with an angled finish past Sean O’Neill, but goals from Kym Nelson and Fraser Taylor tipped the balance in favour of the Sky Blues before the half-hour mark.

However the Crues hit three goals in seven second half minutes to claim the points.

Ben Kennedy levelled for Stephen Baxter’s side on 67 minutes, Paul Heatley edged them back in front four minutes after that before Jarlath O’Rourke hit number four with a strong right-foot volley.

Glentoran slipped below the Crues into fifth spot after going down by three goals at home to Loughgall.

Nathaniel Ferris fired the Villagers in front as early as the fifth minute with a back post header, before Robbie Norton doubled up half-an-hour later into the bottom left corner.

That was how it stayed until deep into added time when Ferris doubled his tally with a clinically despatched spot-kick awarded after Ryan Waide had been upended by Aaron McCarey.

Glenavon cruised to a four-goal win over Dungannon Swifts at Mourneview Park, thanks largely to a Lido Lotefa hat-trick.

He grabbed his first on six minutes after making the most of some poor defending, doubled up eight minutes later with a slotted finish into the bottom corner and claimed the match ball just after the hour from close range.

Matthew Snoddy also got his name on the scoresheet moments after that with an unstoppable strike past Alex Henderson.