2021/22 Season Review: January
COLERAINE would start the New Year with an Irish Cup tie against Windmill Stars in a month that was filled with ups and downs…
The Stripes would commence the month with the visit of Newry-based Windmill Stars to The Showgrounds. A dominant Coleraine would show their intentions early doors and bagged inside 20 minutes as Jamie Glackin’s clever lob found the back of the net. A second goal for the Bannsiders came eight minutes later after more indecisiveness in the Windmill defence as Stephen Lowry managed to win the ball for Curtis Allen to finish from close range. Before the break, the hosts would grab a third as Glackin showed a great turn of pace to get past Mark McAteer before pulling the ball back for Allen, his effort rebounded off the post before Matthew Shevlin fired in the loose ball. The tie was wrapped up on 52 minutes as teenager Patrick Kelly notched his first goal for Coleraine. Oran Kearney made a raft of substitutions as we moved into the final quarter and one of them, Aaron Jarvis, smashed home a fifth with 13 minutes to go and right at the death fellow sub James McLaughlin lashed home from outside the area.
The following week Coleraine tried to end their stuttering league form by eyeing all three points from a visit to Shamrock Park. In a first-half that lacked any real quality, the best chances fell to Stephen Lowry who had a shot saved by Jethren Barr, whilst Adam Salley’s strike from an indirect free-kick failed to test Gareth Deane. The second 45 minutes would follow the same pattern as the first as half chances were the best on offer as Salley had a sight of goal, before Curtis Allen lashed wide after being picked out by Matthew Shevlin. The scoreless draw would move Coleraine into the top six on goal difference.
However, the Bannsiders would return to winning ways from their next league assignment as Carrick Rangers were put to the sword at The Showgrounds. The Amber Army would spurn several great chances to take the lead and they would be punished as Rodney Brown headed home from Jamie Glackin’s delivery. That would spark the hosts into life as they doubled their advantage on 37 minutes with Glackin the torment in chief yet again. A cross into the area by the silky midfielder forced Steven Gordon to put the ball into his own net. Oran Kearney’s men would be given the perfect opportunity to add a third from the spot after Lyndon Kane was brought down inside the area by Matthew Skeet. The full-back would pick up the ball and comfortably dispatch from 12 yards on 53 minutes.
The final two fixtures of the month would see the Stripes lock horns with the ‘Big Two’, starting with a midweek trip to in-form Glentoran. The deadlock would be broken on the half hour mark as Robbie McDaid used his energy on the right-hand side to cross for Michael O’Connor who used every inch of his body to steer the ball into the net. Oran Kearney shuffled his pack on the hour mark by bringing on Matthew Shevlin and Curtis Allen, with the Bannsiders enjoying more possession and territory. That would be rewarded on 73 minutes as Coleraine drew level as Stephen O’Donnell headed home his first goal of the season from Conor McKendry’s corner kick. However, there would be late drama to the game as Glentoran found a winner on 90 minutes as a free-kick into the area wasn’t cleared and Conor McMenamin bundled the ball home.
The Stripes would make their first signing of the January transfer window as Andy Mitchell joined the ranks on a loan move until the end of the season which would be made permanent on a three-year deal.
Coleraine had no time to feel sorry for themselves as title challengers Linfield rocked up to The Showgrounds. They sure didn’t as they would take the lead on 11 minutes from the penalty spot. A strike from Matthew Shevlin hit the hand of Ethan Devine leaving Steven Gregg with no hesitation in pointing to the spot. The ball was rifled into the net by Lyndon Kane who left Chris Johns with no chance. Just after the hour mark, David Healy’s men thought they had drawn level as McClean’s flick released Jordan Stewart inside the box, and just when the winger was about to shoot, he was thwarted by a timely goal saving block by Aaron Jarvis. On 75 minutes, Coleraine would go further ahead as a poor pass by Michael Newberry was seized upon by Stephen Lowry. The midfielder had the vision to pick out Shevlin who did the rest as he took two neat touches to take the ball past Jimmy Callacher before finishing into the far corner of the net. Oran Kearney’s men would grab a scintillating third goal of the contest as they turned defence into attack. A corner kick from Matthew Clarke was forced onto the crossbar by Deane with Coleraine producing a devastating counter attack. A strong run and pass by Jarvis released Glackin inside the area and the midfielder did the rest by smashing a strike into the net.
A transfer window deadline day would see Jay Riley and Ian Parkhill both move out on loan to Institute, with Evan Tweed also making a temporary switch to Ballinamallard United.