Quarter-final spot the Loughgall prize

Steven Hawe.
Steven Hawe.

Warner Mullen extended his run of superb scoring form on Saturday - but the forward’s double failed to secure the ultimate reward for Loughgall.

Mullen fired Loughgall into a 2-0 lead but Larne - with former Portadown goalkeeper Billy Brennan making his debut - bounced back to salvage a share of the Championship One spoils.

Mullen linked up with strike partner Daniel Ryan to break the deadlock with a curling shot from the edge of the area.

He doubled his tally thanks to an assured penalty kick.

Larne, however, hit back and only some solid defensive work and fine stops by Gareth Buchanan helped Loughgall secure a point.

However, with the reward of a quarter-final spot to the winners at the final whistle, victory would stand alongside past highlights.

Lakeview Park has provided the setting for some memorable cup dates and coach Steven Hawe is keen to add a modern moment to savour to that scrapbook.

“Both sides will be going in with some decent form and viewing it as one they can win,” he said. “With one victory putting you into the quarter-finals, to get a side outside the top flight and at either your level or the division below is the best possible scenario for either club.

“However, from our own viewpoint, we will not dismiss PSNI just because of the club’s status as Championship Two.

“They have picked up some good results this season and seem especially dangerous in attack.

“We would love to see a good crowd out to help us make the most of home advantage.”

PSNI may arrive in the village confident of finding the net but Loughgall can point to a front pairing in fine form.

“Warner Mullen and Daniel Ryan sit on 34 goals as a partnership this season,” said Hawe. “Warner got two on Saturday in the draw with Larne to push his tally to 20.”

The match will provide Gerald Boyle with his first home appearance since taking up the role of Loughgall manager. The backroom reshuffle will see Hawe and Steven Uprichard share coaching roles as Boyle’s assistants.

Kick-off is at 1.30 tomorrow (Saturday).