COLERAINE returned to winning ways in the Danske Bank Premiership as two goals in each half saw off the challenge of Portadown…
The Bannsiders made two alterations for the contest as Stephen Lowry and James McLaughlin were handed their first league starts of the season at the expense of Conor McKendry and Stephen O’Donnell.
After losing their last two games, Coleraine needed a strong start and they would take the lead from a corner kick. The set piece was taken by Lee Lynch and the ball was sent into the net by the head of Portadown defender Paddy McNally for an own goal on four minutes.
On 10 minutes, the advantage would be doubled as a cross field pass by Conor McDermott released the run of Lynch and the midfielder did the rest by delightfully lobbing the ball over the head of Barr.
The Stripes were enjoying plenty of the ball and would go close on two further occasions as Matthew Shevlin headed into the arms of the ‘keeper, before Barr was called into action yet again to save a header this time from McLaughlin after he was found by Glackin.
Lynch was proving to be the tormentor in chief for the visiting defence and he would go within a lick of paint of making it 3-0 as he showed great trickery on the right-hand side. Just when it looked like his curling effort was going to find the top corner, the Limerick native would see his effort cannon off the crossbar.
The Ports – who came to the Ballycastle Road rooted to the bottom of the table – would have several half chances as Howard Beverland’s header was comfortably gathered by Gareth Deane, before Stephen Teggart’s effort deflected wide after good work by Igor Rudowksi.
The second-half would once again see Coleraine make a bright start and they went 3-0 ahead on 50 minutes. A lovely cushioned pass by McLaughlin was picked up by McDermott inside the box, but just when he couldn’t adjust feet to shoot, the ball was slammed into the net by Shevlin.
Kearney’s men would make a quickfire brace of goals yet again as they extended their lead just four minutes later. A fine run set the ball up to Lynch on the right-hand side and his cross was missed by a Portadown defender but not by McLaughlin who fired past Barr.
The 4-0 cushion allowed the Stripes to give minutes to several members in the squad as Rodney Brown, Aaron Jarvis, Jack O’Mahony and Evan McLaughlin were introduced from the bench.
On 76 minutes, the visitors would have a sight of goal as Jordan Jenkins was found inside the box but his driven effort was blocked by the alert Lyndon Kane. At the other end, neat passes allowed Lynch to hit a strike on goal that was easily gathered by Barr.
The final two chances of the contest would be created by Portadown as substitute Don Tantale met a corner kick from Jonah Mitchell but failed to find the target, with the same player also lashing an effort wide from just outside the box.
A good win for Coleraine who will be pleased to pick up three points ahead of Tuesday night’s clash against Dungannon Swifts in the BetMcLean Cup.
COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, D. Jarvis (Brown ’65 mins), Mullan, Lowry, J. McLaughlin, Carson (Farren ’77 mins), Lynch, Glackin (A. Jarvis ’65 mins), McDermott (O’Mahony ’65 mins), Shevlin (E. McLaughlin ’65 mins).
Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), O’Donnell.
PORTADOWN: Barr, Beverland, Upton, Donnellan (McKeown ’55 mins), Stedman (Mitchell ’69 mins), Russell, McNally, Archer, Teggart, Jenkins (Tantale ’78 mins), Rutkowski (Moore ’55 mins).
Subs Not Used: McKenna (GK), Akiotu, Balde.
Referee: Jamie Robinson