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Danske Bank Premiership: Matchday 11

Cliftonville 0 - 2 Coleraine
19 Dec 2020 - 17:30Solitude

CHRISTMAS came early for Coleraine with a well deserved victory at Solitude…

By: Michael Anderson

The Bannsiders can now look forward to the New Year, boosted by back to back victories and a welcome clean sheet.

It was a double from super sub James McLaughlin that sends the Bannsiders into 2021 in buoyant mood.

Manager Oran Kearney stuck by the same team which defeated Warrenpoint Town last week and they again put in a huge shift to overcome the Reds.

Both teams somewhat cancelled each other out during a first half which had plenty of endeavour but few goalscoring opportunities.

Gareth Deane was sharp off his line on 13 minutes to block Conor McDermott as he attempted to get on the end of a long ball.

And he repeated the feat two minutes later, this time as Joe Gormley tried to connect with Ronan Doherty’s pass.

At the other end Coleraine appealed for handball as Jamie Glackin attempted an overhead kick from Ben Doherty’s cross but Jamie Harney got his head – rather than his arm – in the way.

A fluent move by the visitors on 22 minutes saw Lyndon Kane send an inviting cross into the box but Garry Breen was the quickest to react and cleared the danger.

Then McDermott made two crucial blocks in quick succession as Coleraine threatened to break the deadlock.

First he slid in to stop Doherty’s 27th minute effort before getting up quickly to deny Glackin.

Cliftonville’s best move of the half saw Chris Curran lay the ball into the path of Gormley who swept his shot past the far post.

But it was Coleraine who carved out another half chance four minutes before the break.

Stewart Nixon did well to pick out the in-rushing Evan Tweed who was over stretching and was unable to make a proper contact.

The second half started with a sensational save from Deane to keep his team on level terms.Ryan Curran looked certain to score when he met Gormley’s 48th minute cross from close range but the ‘keeper produced a superb stop.

It was the sensational introduction of McLaughlin from the bench, however, which swung the game Coleraine’s way. The striker replaced Nixon after 55 minutes and with his first touch rose to power his header from Ian Parkhill’s cross past Richard Brush.

And Parkhill could and should have grabbed a goal for himself just two minutes later after a fine move involving Kane, McLaughlin and Doherty but Brush made a fine block to deny him.

Another chance came and went on 68 minutes when Glackin rolled a shot narrowly wide after a good run. Cliftonville threw men into attack in the closing stages and it took a tremendous goal-line clearance from skipper O’Donnell to deny Gormley who lobbed Deane.

It was left to that man McLaughlin to make the points safe with seven minutes remaining. The striker dispossessed a hesitant Breen and finished clinically for his sixth goal of the season and stake a claim for a starting slot when the campaign resumes.

CLIFTONVILLE:  Brush, McDermott, Breen, Harney (McCrudden ’78 mins), C. Curran, O’Connor (Maguire ’68 mins), R. Curran, Donnelly, Bagnall (McMenamin ’63 mins), Doherty, Gormley.

Subs Not Used: Dunne (GK), Foster, Casey, Hyland.

COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, Doherty, Lowry, McConaghie, Tweed (Jarvis ’74 mins), O’Donnell, Parkhill, Glackin (Wilson ’85 mins), Traynor, Nixon (McLaughlin ’55 mins).

Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Douglas, Allen, Beverland.

Referee: Raymond Crangle