Irish Premiership: Larne beat Loughgall to go top as bottom two draw

Andy Ryan scored twice as Larne beat Loughgall 2-0 at Inver Park to move top of the Irish Premiership table, two points ahead of Linfield.

The striker netted a goal in each half to complete his second double in as many games and make it 15 wins and four draws for Larne in 19 league matches.

Bottom side Newry City remain six points behind Ballymena United with a game in hand after the sides drew 1-1.

Noah Stewart scored for Ballymena, with Adam Salley equalising for the hosts.

Linfield have the opportunity to move back to the summit on Saturday if they can defeat Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

The first of Ryan's goals came on 20 minutes through a textbook free-kick. After winning the kick himself on the edge of the box, the Scottish forward stepped up and curled a beautiful left-footed effort past a statuesque Berraat Turker.

Larne certainly didn't have it all their own way in the first period and the champions had some uncharacteristically nervy moments at the back

Loughgall could certainly sense there was something in the game for them after the break and introduced January signing Ryan Waide off the bench for a debut.

However, it was Ryan who doubled his and Larne's tally on 65 minutes with a prolific finish from just inside the box after taking a cross on his chest.

That was enough to seal three points for Larne and ensure they stay unbeaten in the league since losing to Loughgall at Lakeview Park on 26 September.