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Ive and kicking

Larne 1-1 Cliftonville

Levi Ives netted a stunning free-kick as Cliftonville pocketed a battling point against Larne at Inver Park this evening.

Having absorbed some early pressure from the hosts, the Reds roared in front in eye-catching style when Ives blasted past goalkeeper Michael Argyrides from distance.

Larne levelled on 50 minutes through Ronan Hale’s emphatic finish and, though both sides had chances to win the game – with Kris Lowe going closest for Cliftonville – the spoils were shared at the end of a keenly-contested tie.

The Inver outfit were denied by Luke McNicholas’ smart save from Graham Kelly early on and Davy McDaid was off target with an effort of his own before the deadlock was broken when Kofi Balmer’s foul on Joe Gormley presented Ives with a free-kick opportunity he dispatched with aplomb.

Balmer headed wide from a corner at the other end Kelly was again kept out by McNicholas before Larne equalised early in the second period when Hale lashed in after good work from Fuad Sule.

That would be that until the closing stages of the game, when Kris Lowe saw a low shot well saved by Michael Argyrides and Paul O’Neill had a fierce attempt closed down before Chris Gallagher could only find the side netting from a tight angle.

Cliftonville: McNicholas, Ives, C Curran (McDermott, 85 mins), R Curran, McDonagh (Doherty, 65 mins), Lowe, Addis, Gormley (O’Neill, 71 mins), Turner, Gallagher, Kearns. Unused subs: Dunne, Harney, Casey, Coates.