BetMcLean Cup: First Round

Coleraine 2 - 1 Bangor
03 Oct 2023 - 19:45The Showgrounds

COLERAINE had to dig deep to record success in the first round of the BetMcLean Cup as Lee Lynch’s superb effort saw off the challenge of Bangor at The Showgrounds…

By: Charlie Cooke

After Oran Kearney named an unchanged starting line-up for the contest, Martin Gallagher made a smart save with his feet on 13 minutes as he came sprinting off his line to stop Lewis Francis from getting his shot away.

On the half hour mark, Conor McKendry saw his shot blocked and Matthew Shevlin met a cross with his head, but the ball went just off target as it travelled over the crossbar.

Five minutes later, Dean Jarvis found the head of Shevlin with a cross from the left wing, however, the striker saw his header across goal drift inches by the post. A few moments later, McKendry saw his goal effort blocked inside the penalty area by a Bangor defender.

With 41 minutes played, Reece Neale took a corner for Bangor that would’ve been a goal if it wasn’t for Gallagher who was able punch the ball away on the line.

The last action of the fast half saw Darren Cole have his header cleared off the line after great defensive instinct by Ben Cushnie.

The first action of the second-half saw Andy Scott test the gloves of James Taylor with a powerful effort, whilst at the other end, Jack Henderson failed to keep his attempt on target as the ball sailed over the crossbar.

On the hour mark, the Stripes thought they had forged ahead as quick feet by McKendry allowed the winger to cut inside but his left foot attempt was forced around the post by Taylor.

After Francis headed wide from a long throw-in for the Championship side, Coleraine would go close with just five minutes to go as a defensive clearance landed at the feet of Dean Jarvis and his attempt took a wicked deflection and was palmed away by Taylor with a superb save.

Soon after, Shevlin saw his header cleared off the line by Francis after the former Linfield man had beaten Taylor in the air for the ball. However, Shevlin would open the scoring on 89 minutes as a cross in from the right-hand side by Lyndon Kane found the 24-year-old who nodded past Taylor.

There would be a late twist in the game as Scott was adjudged to have fouled a Bangor player inside the box in stoppage time, resulting in referee Declan Hassan pointing to the spot. The resulting penalty kick would be finished by Ben Arthurs to send the game into extra-time.

After Coleraine lost Graham Kelly to a knock inside the first-half of extra-time, the Bannsiders would regain the lead in spectacular style. A long range effort from Lee Lynch sailed by Taylor from 25 yards and into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.

The result should have been put beyond doubt on 109 minutes as substitute David McDaid was played through on goal but his attempt from close range was sniffed out by an inspired Taylor.

The last action of the game saw Lee Harkin and Shevlin combine which saw the latter receive the on the edge of the penalty area. Shevlin dibbled his way past the Bangor defence but unfortunately his shot was caught comfortably by Taylor.

The full-time whistle meant Coleraine are through to the next round of the competition as Oran Kearney’s side now return to Sports Direct Premiership duty against Glenavon on Saturday.

COLERAINE: Gallagher, Kane, D. Jarvis, Kelly (Wallace ’97 mins), A. Jarvis (Harkin ’84 mins), McKendry, Shevlin, Carson (O’Mahony ’75 mins), Lynch, Cole (McDaid ’46 mins), Scott.

Subs Not Used: Deane (GK), Mitchell, Devine.

BANGOR: Taylor, Henderson (Halliday ’90 mins), Harrison, A. Neale (McArthur ’66 mins), Cushnie (Arthurs ’66 mins), Devine (O’Kane ’57 mins), R. Neale, Walker, Brown, Francis, Foster (Mathieson ’95 mins).

Subs Not Used: Orbinson (GK), Hughes.

Referee: Declan Hassan