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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Irish Premiership: Larne suffer dent to title bid as Newry hold on for scoreless draw

Frustrated Larne suffered a dent to their Irish Premiership title bid as Newry City held them to a scoreless draw at the Newry Showgrounds.

The draw means the Invermen move back ahead of Linfield into second place, three points behind leaders Cliftonville but with a game in hand.

Tiernan Lynch’s side were dominant throughout but could not find a way past home goalkeeper Steven Maguire.

Newry, who remain 10th, are now three points clear of the relegation zone.

Darren Mullen’s men had been on a nine-game losing streak but they have now earned two consecutive draws to boost their season.

With Cliftonville and Linfield both winning convincingly on Saturday, Larne travelled to the Showgrounds knowing that a victory would have brought them to within a point of the leaders having played a game less than the Reds.

However, despite bossing possession throughout, they were not able to take advantage of their possession as Maguire made a number of solid saves to keep them out, with former Northern Ireland defender Ryan McGivern also performing superbly in defence.

Maguire showed equal measures of intellect and bravery to twice prevent an oncoming Lee Bonis from reaching a well-placed pass in the early stages.

He also kept out a powerful header from substitute Paul O’Neill and tipped a rasping Joe Thomson effort over the crossbar with what was his best save of the match.

There were also several occasions when McGivern fired himself at the ball to prevent thunderous efforts from visiting attackers from finding in the net.

Just a few moments from time, it was McGivern who was on hand to block an O’Neill effort while Leroy Millar scuffed a last-minute shot to end Larne’s hopes of making the breakthrough.

Newry only had one shot on target, a way-ward effort from long range, but they’ll be by far the happier of the two sides, while Larne will be left to rue their spurned chances.

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