COLERAINE put in the perfect away performance as they sealed a 2-0 victory against Larne at Inver Park…
Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney made three changes for the contest as Lyndon Kane and Matthew Shevlin returned from suspension, with Conor McKendry also starting at the expense of Lee Lynch.
Coleraine were guilty of missing an early chance on their last visit to Inver Park but they didn’t make a mistake this time around. A short free-kick by Aaron Jarvis allowed McKendry to cross the ball which was met the head of Shevlin who found the back of the net after just four minutes.
Things nearly got even better just five minutes later as a corner kick by McKendry was headed over at the back post by Stephen O’Donnell. At the other end, a free-kick by Aaron Donnelly was headed down by Lee Bonis but Paul O’Neill’s turn and strike went over the crossbar.
Just before the half hour mark, Larne would create their best opportunity of the match as Ben Doherty fed Bonis just outside the box. The striker would sent a rasping effort towards goal which forced Gareth Deane to claw ball over the crossbar.
On 34 minutes, the Stripes would be presented with a glorious chance to go 2-0 ahead as a misplaced pass by Shea Gordon let Shevlin through on goal but his low effort was kept out by the legs of Ferguson.
The woodwork would come to the visitors’ rescue on 41 minutes as a cross into the box by Doherty was met by O’Neill. The ball took a wicked deflection off Stephen O’Donnell and clipped the top of the crossbar as the Bannsiders survived.
However, there would be a second goal before the break as Kearney’s men stretched their lead in fine style. A quick corner kick between Jack O’Mahony and McKendry allowed the latter to fire a low strike into the back of the net against his former club.
Despite not having as much possession as their hosts, Coleraine would go close twice in as many minutes. The first would land from the boot of Shevlin who showed great perseverance to hit a shot straight down the throat of Ferguson. Sixty seconds later, McKendry would cut in from the left-hand side before trickling an effort wide of the near post.
After Leroy Millar would head over the crossbar for Larne from Doherty’s corner kick, the Stripes would have the next attempt towards goal as Shevlin’s free-kick failed to find the target.
Kearney would utilise his bench by bringing on Lee Lynch, Evan McLaughlin and Michael McCrudden in a bid to see the game out and Deane would be called into action to palm away Doherty’s free-kick with two minutes remaining.
A comeback from the hosts never looked like materialising as Coleraine earned a deserved victory on the road.
LARNE: Ferguson, Want, Randall (Sule ’46 mins), O’Neill (Lusty ’67 mins) Bonis, Doherty, Donnelly, Gordon (Sloan ’79 mins), Bolger, Millar, Cosgrove.
Subs Not Used: McIntyre (GK), Kelly, Kearns, Hughes.
COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, D. Jarvis, A. Jarvis, McKendry (E. McLaughlin ’79 mins), Carson, Farren, O’Donnell, O’Mahony (Lynch ’74 mins), McDermott, Shevlin (McCrudden ’87 mins).
Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Mullan, Lowry, J. McLaughlin.
Referee: Declan Hassan