Larne move top and Carrick shock Coleraine

Watch: Larne 3-0 Ballymena United

Larne moved top of the Irish Premiership table with a 3-0 victory against Ballymena United at Inver Park.

They replace Coleraine as early pacesetters, after the Bannsiders fell to their first defeat of the season against Carrick Rangers.

Linfield defeated Glenavon 4-2, whilst Crusaders and Cliftonville recorded back-to-back league wins with victories against Dungannon Swifts and Newry.

A Daire O’Connor goal helped Glentoran edge out Loughgall at Lakeview Park.

Larne win derby at Inver

Larne remain unbeaten this season after overcoming a stubborn Ballymena side.

The champions struggled to make an impact in the first half, but a Lee Bonis header three minutes after the break broke the deadlock.

Andy Ryan added a second and Leroy Millar sealed the victory in the final minute of added time.

Bonis’ headed goal from Ryan’s cross turned a tight game in Larne’s favour and sparked a spell of Larne pressure, with Levi Ives, Ryan and Bonis all spurning chances to double their lead, before the frontmen combined again for the second goal.

Bonis drove down the right and his low cross was blasted into the top corner from 12-yards out by Ryan.

Shea Gordon and Craig Farquhar both hit the woodwork and Kym Nelson cleared off his own goal line, before Leroy Millar netted a third in in the final minute of added time after Bonis’ shot was blocked.

It was an action packed finish that was in contrast to an often dour first-half, with the best chance of the opening 45 minutes seeing Bonis blast wide from six-yards after Micheal Glynn’s cutback.

The defeat means Ballymena have lost their opening three games.

Carrick claim first win

Carrick Rangers bounced back from their opening day defeat at home to Newry City in some style by inflicting a first defeat of the season on Coleraine.

First-half goals from Kyle Cherry and captain David Cushley secured a deserved 2-0 win against a disjointed away team, who had Jamie Glackin sent off in the second half after picking up two yellow cards.

Cherry headed the hosts in front in the 14th minute, outjumping the visiting defence to loop his effort over Gareth Deane, before Cushley doubled the advantage from the penalty spot three minutes later.

The visitors huffed and puffed but failed to break down a resolute home defence superbly marshalled by Albert Watson.

Graham Kelly came closest to scoring in the dying moments, but his header from a Lee Lynch corner went the wrong side of the post on what was a largely frustrating night for Oran Kearney’s men.

Carrick comfortably held on to record a first league victory over their opponents in seven years.

Cruise for Crues

Crusaders won their first home game of the season after a 2-0 victory against Dungannon Swifts at Seaview.

Ben Kennedy thought he had opened the scoring when his close-range strike found the back of the net, but his goal was disallowed for an apparent handball in the build-up.

Just before the break, Paul Heatley leapt highest to connect with a looping cross into the box and nodded the ball towards goal which Declan Dunne dealt with.

The home side took the lead in the 46th minute when Heatley fired home after latching onto Philip Lowry’s header which flew across the face of goal.

Stephen Baxter’s men almost doubled their lead moments later, when Jordan Forsythe’s acrobatic effort looked goal bound, but it flew over the crossbar.

Crusaders extended their lead on 57 minutes when Jarlath O’Rourke delivered a dangerous cross from the left-hand side into the box.

John Scott and Adam Glenny tried to clear the danger, but clashed with each other in the progress, with Adam Lecky able to bundle the ball home from close range.

Joe Moore had a couple of chances on target for Dungannon, the first a low strike and the second a free-kick, but Jonathan Tuffey denied both attempts.

Kealan Dillon also had a good opportunity with his strike from range being palmed over the crossbar by Tuffey.

Clinical Cliftonville

Watch: Cliftonville beat Newry to continue winning start

Jim Magilton’s Cliftonville side maintained their winning start to the season with a comfortable away victory at the Showgrounds.

The Reds got off to a dream start when Luke Turner fired home on the rebound from close range on seven minutes, after Joe Gomley’s half volley was initially blocked into the defender’s path.

Ben Wilson doubled Cliftonville’s lead in the 28th minute against the run of play, when the summer signing slotted home following a flowing Reds attack involving Ronan Doherty and Rory Hale.

Hale turned from provider to goalscorer five minutes later. Doherty ran onto Turner’s pass before cutting the ball back for the late run of Hale, who fired home just inside the Newry penalty area.

The midfielder had a chance to add a fourth for the north Belfast side after being played through on goal by Chris Gallagher soon after the restart, but Steven Maguire stood strong to deny the former Crusaders man’s near post effort.

The hosts had a chance to get on level terms in the first-half, but Adam Salley’s effort was saved by Nathan Gartside in the 20th minute. The frontman skipped past Jonny Addis before being denied by the former Derry City stopper.

Cooper magic helps Blues to home win

The Blues, playing their first home game of the season, took the lead on 16 minutes when Chris McKee fired home from six-yards from a Jack Scott cross from the right wing.

McKee kept his composure and fired into the roof of the net for his second goal in as many games for the Blues.

Glenavon responded a minute later when Stephen Teggart’s curling effort from 20-yards flew past Chris Johns and into the top right corner.

Midway through the half Linfield almost regained the lead when Kirk Millar’s curling effort came back off the post and Glenavon were able to clear their lines.

David Healy’s men went ahead on 52 minutes when Joel Cooper beat several Glenavon defenders down the right wing and fired powerfully into the far corner.

Linfield then extended their lead on 61 minutes as Chris Shields fired home at the second attempt after his penalty was saved by Rory Brown.

The Blues scored their fourth on 63 minutes when Shields again stepped up, but this time scored from the spot, as he fired powerfully into the corner. The penalty was awarded after McKee was fouled by Brown inside the area.

Glenavon pulled one back on 74 minutes as Callum Birney headed home a pinpoint Peter Campbell corner.

The win is Linfield’s second in as many games whilst Glenavon have lost all three games they have played.

Glens get back to winning ways

Watch: Loughgall 0-1 Glentoran

Glentoran bounced back from defeat at the hands of Larne last week, to beat a hearty Loughgall side.

After a bright opening by the visitors, it was O’Connor who got the only goal of the game on 19 minutes.

A poor throw out from Loughgall keeper Berraat Turker was pounced on by Niall McGinn down the left and his neat cut-back was finished by O’Connor from close range at the back post.

As the first-half progressed the hosts made more of an impact, with Caolan McAleer and then Tiernan Kelly both firing wide from distance and the impressive Alberto Balde shining down the left flank.

The second-half was dominated by the visitors. Jay Donnelly went close but was denied by Turker, before McGinn and then Bobby Burns both struck the woodwork.

In the dying minutes, the hosts threw everything at the Glentoran goal, but it was not to be as the east Belfast side held on for the three points.

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