COLERAINE continued their recent excellent form with a superb win at Inver Park…
By: Michael Anderson
The Bannsiders blew high flying Larne away with a stunning start from which the hosts never recovered.
Manager Oran Kearney once again revealed his tactical nous as he changed both personnel and shape to devastating effect.
A Stephen Lowry penalty and James McLaughlin strike inside the opening quarter of an hour left the home side stunned.
It took them 23 minutes to pose their first threat when Mark Randall dispossessed Stephen O’Donnell but the recalled Aaron Canning cut out the cross.
By that stage Coleraine were well in command.
They began at a high tempo and hit the front after just six minutes. Ronan Hale bundled over Lyndon Kane inside the box and Lowry smashed home the resultant penalty.
And within five minutes Coleraine were further ahead.
The high pressing game paid dividends as Stewart Nixon robbed Albert Watson to free McLaughlin who calmly slotted the ball between the legs of Conor Devlin.
Larne did come into the game as the first half progressed but Gareth Deane had little to do with the exception of a save from Graham Kelly’s effort.
Larne were almost handed a way back into the contest early in the second half after a mix up between Canning and Deane and both breathed sighs of relief as Canning’s backpass sailed past the ‘keeper and rolled past the post.
As expected, Larne forced Coleraine onto the backfoot for most of the second period, with the introduction of Johnny McMurray causing problems.
The big striker brought a save out of Deane on 73 minutes and sixty seconds later it was very much game on as Watson rose to power home a header.
McMurray then hooked an effort from John Herron’s flick-on against the crossbar as the visitors dug deep to hold out for three valuable points.
Skipper O’Donnell – who survived an injury time penalty appeal after a challenge on McMurray – was thrilled to play his part in his side’s latest hard earned success.
“The last time we played Larne was on the back of a three game week and we were short on players,” he said.
“We came here with a point to prove. It might be a cliché but coming off four wins on the bounce we simply aimed to make it five.
“It’s an important week for us and this sets us up for Crusaders at the weekend.”
LARNE: Devlin, Kelly, Watson, Robinson, Herron, Sule, Randall (McMurray ’46 mins), Hale (Donnelly ’58 mins), McDaid, Mitchell (Hughes ’46 mins), Cosgrove.
Subs Not Used: Mitchell (GK), Scott, Wade Slater, Jarvis,
COLERAINE: Deane, McConaghie, O’Donnell, Canning, Kane, Traynor, Lowry, Jarvis (Carson ’76 mins), Glackin, Nixon (Parkhill ’85 mins), McLaughlin (Bradley ’76 mins).
Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Wilson, Allen, Beverland.
Referee: Shane Andrews