Irish Premiership: Larne and Glentoran play out tight scoreless draw in season opener - BBC Sport

Irish Premiership: Larne and Glentoran play out tight scoreless draw in season opener

By Mark SterlingBBC Sport NI at Inver Park
Watch: Larne and Glentoran share spoils in Inver stalemate

Larne and Glentoran played out a tight scoreless draw at Inver Park in the first match of the 2022/23 Irish Premiership season.

Glens striker Jay Donnelly missed a great opportunity to score just after half-time when his tame effort allowed Rohan Ferguson to save.

The hosts shaded the game in terms of chances created, and came closest five minutes in when Ben Doherty had a shot blocked before Lee Bonis grazed the post from the resulting corner.

After an energetic first half, with a vocal crowd creating a great atmosphere in the Inver Park sunshine, the tempo of the match dropped after the break as neither side was able to deliver enough quality to break the stalemate.

There was certainly nothing like the drama when the sides met in the last match of last season when Larne came out on top in the European play-off final.

With the Glens having finished third in the table last season and Larne fifth, this was a tough start for both teams and, as the second half went on, it looked as they would both have been satisfied with a point.

Donnelly's chance to win it came in the 48th minute when he lots of time and space in front of goal, but he looked to take his low left-foot shot casually and Ferguson got down to his right to save.

Ten minutes later Bonis came close to opening the scoring for the hosts when he sent a powerful header just wide from a Leroy Millar cross.

McDermott and Lynch take positives after Inver Park stalemate

Larne come close during energetic start in Inver sunshine

The match started in lively fashion and the hosts came close to taking the lead as early as the fourth minute, when Doherty - playing at left wing-back in a 5-3-2 formation - went close.

He robbed Bobby Burns of possession and was through on goal but, shooting from an angle, Glentoran's summer signing Aidan Wilson was able to get across and make a sliding block. Bonis then grazed the outside of the Glens' post from the resulting corner with an effort that seemed to come off his chest.

Glentoran - with captain Marcus Kane alongside Wilson at centre-half - failed to fire as attacking force in the first half, with Rory Donnelly heading too close to Ferguson from a Conor McMenamin cross before midfielder Sean Murray fired well over the crossbar with a free-kick from just outside the box.

The lively Doherty then went close with a well-hit effort from distance that forced McCarey to dive at full-stretch to save, then just before the break McCarey had to be alert to adjust his feet and tip over an attempted cross from Mark Randall that was heading for goal.

The second half faded as a contest after Donnelly's chance as the Irish Premiership season began with a 0-0 draw.

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