COLERAINE moved into second place in the table after seeing off the spirited challenge of Warrenpoint Town at The Showgrounds this afternoon…
By: Michael Anderson
What a turnaround since the last dramatic meeting between the clubs!
After five games without a win, the Bannsiders edged out ten man Warrenpoint back on December 12.
That injury time victory was the catalyst for a run which now stands at 12 matches unbeaten.
The visitors started brightly today, with both Stuart Hutchinson and Kieran Dillon trying their luck.
But it was in-form Coleraine who grabbed an early lead through Curtis Allen.
The striker followed up his midweek double at Carrick by slotting home Ian Parkhill’s tenth minute cross after good work by Matthew Shevlin.
And the experienced marksman pounced again to double the advantage nine minutes later.
He reacted quickly to collect Parkhill’s shot before turning and rifling the ball past goalkeeper Gabriel Sava.
Jamie Glackin went close to putting the game beyond Town after 21 minutes but Dan Byrne got back to clear his effort off the line.
And what a crucial intervention that proved to be by the big central defender.
Despite winning only one of their last nine games, Warrenpoint showed their battling qualities and they hauled themselves back into the contest with a goal on the half hour mark.
Jake O’Connor advanced down the right wing before crossing into the box and Fra McCaffery was on hand to drill the ball past Gareth Deane.
Chances were limited during the early second half exchanges, with Glackin and Parkhill having half chances before Warrenpoint’s Brandon Doyle went down appealing for a penalty.
Town began to flex their muscle, however, and it took a stunning triple save from Deane after 70 minutes to keep the Bannsiders in front.
The ‘keeper made a great stop to deny substitute Adam Carroll and then reacted quickly to get down at his near post to twice keep out Doyle.
Josh Carson broke clear with a quarter of an hour remaining and his cross came off the crossbar.
But it was Deane who had to be on his toes again to claw away Adam Evans’ goalbound effort two minutes later as Barry Gray’s side stepped up their efforts for an equaliser.
Substitutes Stewart Nixon and Eoin Bradley combined to set up Parkhill in the closing stages as Coleraine went in search of a third goal to settle the nerves, but Sava got down well to block the shot.
Job done by Oran Kearney’s men and it’s Portadown at home next on Tuesday night.
COLERAINE: Deane, Canning, Lowry, Carson, Wilson, McConaghie, Tweed, Parkhill, Glackin (Doherty ’73 mins), Allen (Nixon ’66 mins), Shevlin (Bradley ’66 mins).
Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Jarvis, Beverland, Brennan.
WARRENPOINT TOWN: Sava, Deasy, Ball, McVeigh, Dillon (O’Sullivan ’79 mins), O’Connor (Carroll ’64 mins), McCaffrey, Swan (Evans ’64 mins), Hutchinson, Byrne, Doyle.
Subs Not Used: Coleman (GK), Mullen, Cowan, Forsythe.
Referee: Ian McNabb