COLERAINE would play in three different competitions in September as Oran Kearney’s men won four out of their five contests…
After losing against Glenavon at the end of August, the Bannsiders wanted a return to winning ways and they certainly did that with a 5-0 success against Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park. The deadlock would be broken on 11 minutes as Jamie Glackin burst into the box and the midfielder’s cross would be diverted into his own net by Caolan Marron. After both teams would see half chances come and go, Coleraine would go further ahead as neat play involving Glackin and Lee Lynch resulted in Kieran Farren blasting home his first goal for the club. On 43 minutes, it would be 3-0 as a clever ball allowed Lynch to go through on goal and the summer arrival crossed for Matthew Shevlin who prodded home his seventh goal of the season. Just before the half-time whistle, the Bannsiders would grab a fourth as a quick counter attacking move that involved Josh Carson, Aaron Jarvis, Shevlin and Lynch set Glackin through on goal and he would make no mistake by finding the bottom corner. The second-half would be more a quiet affair with both teams making a raft of substitutions but the Stripes would go close late on as Glackin slipped the ball into the path of James McLaughlin but his driven effort was kept out by Declan Dunne. However, there would be a late fifth for Kearney’s men as neat play on the by-line by Jack O’Mahony allowed the midfielder to pick out Michael McCrudden inside the box and he hit the back of the net with a superb finish.
After football was postponed due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the next fixture was in BetMcLean League Cup which had been kind to the Bannsiders after two successive final appearances and their quest for a third would start with a home tie against Dergview. Coleraine would take the lead on 11 minutes as a superb cross into the box by Dean Jarvis was headed home by Evan McLaughlin. After McCrudden and Conor McDermott would see efforts cleared off the line, the former would score his second in as many games as he was in the right position to head home from O’Mahony’s cross. The woodwork would prevent Coleraine going three goals to the good early in the second-half as Conor McKendry’s strike cannoned off the post but a third would arrive on 78 minutes as Shevlin, who missed a chance a minute earlier, comfortably dispatched when one-on-one with the ‘keeper. There would even be time for Oran Kearney’s men to grab a fourth as Evan McLaughlin let fly from 25 yards which went into the top corner.
The next game for Coleraine would be an away trip to in-form Glentoran as one goal separated the two sides at The Oval. In a low key opening 45 minutes, the first chance would land at the feet of Conor McMenamin but the winger would see his drive well saved by Martin Gallagher. Minutes later, Glentoran would go close again as Shay McCartan’s run and strike from just outside the box went inches wide of the near post. After the Bannsiders would see a penalty appeal come and go through as Shevlin went to ground, the Glens would take the lead on 62 minutes as McMenamin was in the right place at the right time to bag after Jay Donnelly saw a close range attempt saved. Coleraine introduced McCrudden from the bench and the striker would have the Stripes’ last chance of the game as he blazed over from Lyndon Kane’s cross.
The North-West Senior Cup saw Coleraine face Institute in the quarter-final stage with several members of the club’s U20 squad making a senior appearance. In an entertaining affair, the deadlock would be broken on 11 minutes as Luca Doherty, Aaron Jarvis and O’Mahony combined to tee up McKendry inside the box. The winger would evade several challenges before arrowing a strike into the bottom corner. On 50 minutes, the Stripes would add a second as McKendry was picked out inside the box and the Carnlough native had the vision and composure to dink the ball over the advancing Muldoon. McKendry ensured that he would go home with the match ball on 66 minutes as he made it 3-0 as he would find space inside the box yet again and lashed a strike into the top corner. However, Institute ensured there would be a grandstand finish to the contest as they netted two late goals through Jamie Dunne and Jack Coyle but Coleraine held firm.
The final match in September would see the BBC cameras roll into town as Coleraine played host to Newry City. The first-half would prove to be a frustrating evening for the Bannsiders as they struggled to overcome a stubborn City defence. Thankfully, their patience would be rewarded after the break as the net rippled on 54 minutes. A wonderful pass over the top of the Newry defence by Carson sent Lynch through on goal and he duly applied a delightful finish to net his first goal in Coleraine colours. On 58 minutes, another Coleraine player would get off the mark as Dean Jarvis made it 2-0. A clever pass by McDermott found Glackin inside the box and his cross was stabbed home by Jarvis who couldn’t miss. With a quarter of the match remaining, the hosts would be denied a cracking third as Lynch and Jarvis combined on the left-hand side to tee up Glackin inside the area, however, he would see a shot from an acute angle palmed away by Maguire.
Elsewhere, the club would create history by becoming the first club from Northern Ireland to participate in the UEFA Youth League after the Stripes’ U18 squad won the NIFL Academy League. Marty Smith’s side would be drawn against FK Pobeda of North Macedonia. The young guns would take a slender 3-2 lead to North Macedonia as they came from behind to win a first leg thriller at The Showgrounds. The deadlock would be broken on five minutes as Jack Patton was in the right place at the right time to guide the ball into the bottom corner. However, the visitors would equalise on 42 minutes as a free-kick from Filip Todoroski went into the back of the net amid a sea of bodies. Just before the half-time whistle, FK Pobeda would take the lead with the impressive Todoroski involved yet again as a quick one-two allowed the attacking midfielder to go through on goal and he arrowed into the bottom corner. Whatever Smith said at half-time had the desired effect as Coleraine made it 2-2 on 52 minutes. A shot by Aaron Campbell deflected off Andrew Stinson and went into the net. Seven minutes later, the turnaround was complete as an inviting delivery into the area by Michael Stewart was met by the brave Reece Watton who got to the ball before the ‘keeper to head home.
Player of the Month: Lee Lynch
Goal of the Month: Lee Lynch vs Newry City