LARNE BACK ON TOP
Champions Larne took a while to get going but eventually ran out comfortable victors over Ballymena United at Inver Park.
After a quiet opening to the game Larne stepped up a gear when Andy Ryan was thwarted by a Scot Whiteside clearance on the edge of the box, followed by a Joe Thomson effort deflected wide of the target by Jordan McMullan.
Larne continued to press and might have broken the deadlock after Micheal Glynn cut the ball back for Lee Bonis but his six-yard finish fizzed just wide of the post.
Ballymena came close to finding a way through late in the first half courtesy of a Ryan Waide header just wide of the top corner after Steven McCullough had sent over a great cross.
However, three minutes after the break, Larne eventually found a way through following Bonis' back post header from Ryan's left-sided cross.
Levi Ives then had a go from distance but his curling free-kick was dealt with by Sean O'Neill, with Joe Thomson then seeing an effort drift just wide of the target.
Tiernan Lynch's side eventually doubled their lead eight minutes from time after Ryan lashed the ball into the top corner after Bonis carried the ball forward before sending over a low cross from the right.
Shea Gordon then almost added a third right at the end of normal time only to send a half volley against the base of the post from just outside the box - with Craig Farquhar then sending a header off the top of the crossbar not long after that.
But Larne's third did arrive deep into stoppage time when Bonis saw a shot blocked, but the rebound fell for substitute Leroy Millar to fire home.
Larne: Ferguson, Want, Farquhar, Thomson, Bonis, Ives, Gordon, Glynn, Cosgrove, Sloan, Ryan subs Dowling, Omar, Kearns, O’Neill, Westendorf, Maguire, Millar
Ballymena United: O’Neill, Nelson, Whiteside, Graham, Waide, McCullough, McGuigan, Taylor, Gibson, McMullan, Place subs Johnston, O’Boyle, Walsh, Murray, Tennant, Crawford, McMurray