Season Review


2022-23 Season Review: August

COLERAINE would kick-start their 2022/23 Danske Bank Premiership in the sunshine against Cliftonville as several players moved on from The Showgrounds…

The Stripes would host Ards in their last pre-season friendly at The Showgrounds with Oran Kearney’s men running out 4-1 victors as Evan McLaughlin netted twice, alongside Lee Lynch and James McLaughlin. Following the game, Coleraine confirmed that winger Caiolan Brennan would spend the season on loan at Limavady United once again, with Michael McCrudden joining the club from Cliftonville.

Coleraine would be at home for the opening fixture of the Danske Bank Premiership season as they welcomed Cliftonville to The Showgrounds. The two clubs met each other six times during 2021/22, therefore it would come as no surprise that they would be scheduled to face off on matchday one. After a water break due to the warm conditions, the Bannsiders took the lead on 31 minutes. A superb cross into the box by Josh Carson was missed by Matthew Shevlin but not Evan McLaughlin who lashed the ball into the back of the net. Just when Josh Carson would see a shot saved by Fynn Talley, Coleraine would double their lead as pressure on the Reds defence allowed Evan McLaughlin to rob the ball, surge forward and place the ball into the net on 39 minutes. Cliftonville would make three substitutions early in the second-half and they would half the deficit on 57 minutes as a great delivery by Levi Ives met Ryan Curran inside the box and the striker buried his header into the bottom corner. The Reds would have all the momentum and they would go within a lick of paint of making it 2-2 on 64 minutes as a one-two found Ronan Hale 25 yards from goal and his thunderous effort smashed the upright. However, Coleraine would hit the woodwork twice in as many minutes as Dean Jarvis’ header cannoned off the post from Evan McLaughlin’s corner, before Lee Lynch’s effort deflected off Shevlin and hit the crossbar with Talley rooted to the spot. In added time, Cliftonville would have one final chance to rescue a point as Ronan Hale miscued from Stephen Mallon’s pull back and that would be punished a minute later as Jamie Glackin sealed the win as his strike bounced in front of Talley and went into the net.

Before the Bannsiders travelled to Shamrock Park to face Portadown there would be two departures from the squad as loyal servant Gareth McConaghie announced his retirement, with Cathair Friel joining Institute on a loan deal until the New Year. However, on the pitch, the Stripes made it two wins from two with a 2-0 win. The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes as a fine ball over the top by Conor McDermott found Shevlin and the striker had the vision and composure to lob the ball over Jethren Barr. The second-half would only be two minutes old when Coleraine doubled their advantage. A good passage of link-up play involving Glackin and Evan McLaughlin released McDermott on the right-hand side and his cross was headed into the back of the net by Shevlin for his second of the afternoon. Shevlin had his sight on the match ball as he headed just inches wide from a deep corner kick, with Lynch also going close as his drive from distance tested the gloves of Barr. The introduction of Conor McKendry would almost prove dividends straight away as he linked-up with McDermott but his square ball into the box just missed a vital touch by Shevlin.

Oran Kearney’s men would finish the month with a double game week as they faced Carrick Rangers and Glenavon. After Carrick started the brightest, it would be Coleraine who would take a 19th minute lead as Lynch crossed for Shevlin who headed into the net despite the best efforts of Ben Tilney to clear the ball off the line. Both teams would continue to create half chances at the Loughview Leisure Arena but once again Coleraine would pounce as Evan McLaughlin released the run of Shevlin who comfortably rounded Ross Glendinning to tap the ball into an empty net. However, the Amber Army would half the deficit before the break as referee Raymond Crangle pointed to the spot after Cameron Stewart was adjudged to have been fouled inside the box. The spot kick would be taken by David Cushley who sent Marty Gallagher the wrong way. After Stewart went inches away from levelling matters, the Stripes would regain their two goal lead as Kieran Farren’s header from Carson’s free-kick went into the path of Shevlin who completed his hat-trick. The hosts would be left frustrated soon after as Gallagher somehow denied Curtis Allen from close range before Emmett McGuckin’s header was cleared off the line by Carson. With less than two minutes remaining, the Stripes would add a fourth as Glackin was in the right place at the right time to divert Aaron Jarvis’ cross into the net, with Carrick pulling a consolation goal back in added time as Allen arrowed a fine strike into the far corner.

The last match in August would see Coleraine lose for the first time in the Premiership as bogey side Glenavon struck once again. The visitors would take the lead on 26 minutes as Peter Campbell arrowed an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner. The Bannsiders would hit back twelve minutes later as Shevlin was fouled inside the area by Rory Brown. This led to referee Shane Andrews pointing to the spot as Shevlin smashed home his sixth goal of the season. Gary Hamiton’s side would go back in front on 47 minutes as a strike from Robbie Garrett took a wicked deflection off Rodney Brown and went into the net via the post. Just after the hour mark, Coleraine would fall further behind as a ball over the top by Michael Glynn released the run of Matthew Fitzpatrick and the ex-Bannsider found the bottom corner.

Before the transfer window closed, the Stripes announced that Ronan Wilson would spend the season on loan at H&W Welders, with summer recruit Dean Brown making the move back to Limavady United.

Player of the Month: Matthew Shevlin
Goal of the Month: Matthew Shevlin vs Portadown