Season Review


2022-23 Season Review: April/May

COLERAINE would miss out on European football in the end-of-season play-offs as they completed their Danske Bank Premiership campaign…

The post-split fixtures would start with an away clash at Cliftonville as the two teams would play out their fourth successive 2-2 draw as the Stripes were twice pegged back at Solitude. Oran Kearney’s men would take a fourth minute lead as Matthew Shevlin laid the ball into the path of Lyndon Kane who rifled home his first goal of the season. Both teams would have chances thereafter, however, Cliftonville would go into the interval on level terms as Ronan Hale arrowed an effort beyond the reach of Gareth Deane. The Reds would see a few chances come and go in the opening parts of the second-half, although Coleraine would regain the lead on the hour mark. A defence splitting pass by Jamie Glackin allowed Andy Scott through on goal and he made no mistake. Just when it looked like Coleraine done enough to bag all three points, the hosts would score in stoppage time yet again as Ronan Hale’s free-kick deflected off the ball and into the net.

The trips to north Belfast would continue as Crusaders were up next in a midweek clash at Seaview. Coleraine would lose 3-1 in north Belfast as three second-half goals from the hosts sealed all three points for Stephen Baxter’s side. The Stripes would hold a half-time lead as Jordan Forsythe brought down Scott inside the area, allowing Michael McCrudden to net his 7th goal of the season from the spot. However, the Crues would be awarded a penalty of their own seven minutes into the second-half as Jack O’Mahony was adjudged to have handled from a corner kick. The resulting spot kick was emphatically finished by Jordan Forsythe. This sparked the Irish Cup finalists into life and they scored a second through Philip Lowry’s header, before making sure of the win on 77 minutes as Forsythe added his second of the evening from close range.

Linfield would then leave The Showgrounds with all three points as a solitary goal from Niall Quinn three minutes from time would be the difference on the Ballycastle Road. The first-half would belong to the visitors in terms of chances as Matthew Clarke, Eetu Vertainen, Kirk Millar and Chris McKee all went close to breaking the deadlock. However, the Stripes would see the greater attacking threat after the interval as Scott forced Chris Johns into a world class save, with Conor McKendry also testing the ex-Coleraine stopper. Despite the hosts looking like netting first, Linfield would secure the win on 87 minutes as Kyle Lafferty’s cross wasn’t cleared which allowed Quinn to drill the ball into the back of the net under a sea of bodies.

The penultimate game of the campaign would prove to be a difficult assignment for the Bannsiders as they were blown away by a rampant Glentoran in the first-half at The Oval. Coleraine were able to handle a start to Stephen Lowry following injury but they would find themselves behind after just two minutes on the clock. A corner kick into the area was met the head of Terry Devlin who made a front post run and his effort went into the back of the net. Glentoran would double their lead on 29 minutes as Conor McMenamin would see his shot crash off the post but Niall McGinn was in the right place at the right time to coolly slot home the rebound. The afternoon went from bad to worse for the visitors on 38 minutes as Kieran Farren had his pocket picked by Devlin and he squared the ball to McGinn who finished accurately for his second goal of the afternoon. The second-half wouldn’t see as many clear cut chances as Scott smashed the crossbar after good play involving McKendry. The game would end on a sour note as half-time substitute Adam Mullan went down with a serious knee injury and after lengthy treatment, he would have to be stretchered off the pitch.

The final game of the season would see champions Larne make their way to The Showgrounds. The Stripes would pick up their first win since March 7 as Shevlin netted twice, alongside Glackin’s late effort. The deadlock would be broken on 51 minutes as a cross into the box by Josh Carson wasn’t cleared and Shevlin pounced to blast the ball into the net. Just after the hour mark, Coleraine would stretch their lead further as a delivery from Lee Lynch picked out Shevlin who was in space and he converted his second of the evening and his 28th goal of the campaign. After Gallagher made a smart save to deny Paul O’Neill, the Bannsiders added a third in stoppage time as Michael McCrudden slipped through Glackin and he duly converted with a cool finish.

The Europa Conference League semi-final play-off saw Coleraine travel to Solitude yet again to face Cliftonville. The Bannsiders would give themselves an uphill task as they conceded with just four minutes on the clock. A reverse pass sent Joe Gormley on his way and he picked out Ryan Curran inside the box who found the back of the net with a composed finish. Things would go from bad to worse on 20 minutes as Cliftonville doubled their advantage as the Stripes allowed Cliftonville too much space yet again. A long ball forward by Jonny Addis wasn’t defended and Ronan Doherty burst through and his shot went through the gloves of Gareth Deane and into the back of the net. The Stripes would threaten twice from set-pieces before the half-time interval as Stephen O’Donnell’s downwards header was clawed away by Nathan Gartside, before Stephen Lowry’s shot clipped off Matthew Shevlin and hit the top of the crossbar. However, Coleraine would grab themselves a lifeline on 72 minutes and through a familiar source. A quick throw-in on the left-hand side saw the ball getting crossed into the area and Shevlin headed the ball into the bottom corner. After the last four clashes ended 2-2 between the two sides, Coleraine would have two good efforts to repeat that scoreline as Shevlin headed straight at Gartside from Glackin’s free-kick, before the striker rounded the Reds stopper but couldn’t convert from a tight angle.

Player of the Month: Andy Scott
Goal of the Month: Jamie Glackin vs Larne