COLERAINE made it a perfect week as they recorded three successive wins in all competitions…
By: Demos Erwin
The Bannsiders kicked off the game undefeated in their last 10 matches with the early stages of the game providing a good indication of their recent fine form. Conor McKendry’s inswinging corner on the 7th minute nearly led directly to a goal with Jethren Barr doing well to tip the ball over his crossbar.
Despite the home side’s early pressure it was Portadown who opened the scoring. After a series of bounces Lyndon Kane attempted to head the ball back to Martin Gallagher, however, Gregory Moorhouse nipped in to poke the ball past the goalkeeper to claim his second goal of the season on 12 minutes.
Despite the early setback, the Bannsiders continued to put the pressure on Portadown. Excellent play down the left hand side by Dean Jarvis pulling the ball back to Michael McCrudden 12 yards out with the attacker firing his effort just wide of the post.
After a series of corners this one finally paid off for the home side. Carson played a superb first time pass back out to corner taker McKendry, the wide man then brilliantly dribbled past two Portadown defenders before putting another dangerous cross into the box. The ball bounced kindly for Rodney Brown who finished well to score his first goal of the season on 26 minutes to tie up the game.
The Bannsiders then took the lead on 36 minutes after McKendry entered the box after yet another fine piece of dribbling, the ball then fell to the league’s top goalscorer, Matthew Shevlin who needed no second invitation. The striker slotted the ball into the far corner with his left foot just inside the box to give Coleraine the lead.
The Stripes nearly added a third just a few minutes later after a brilliant long pass by Kieran Farren out to Mckendry on the left hand side, the wide man advanced forward finding Shevlin who set the ball for McCrudden only for the ex-Cliftonville man to fire just wide.
Another big chance came Coleraine’s way in the 42nd minute after a brilliant turn and pass from McCrudden out to Jarvis, the full-back then put a delicious cross on the head of Coleraine’s brightest spark, McKendry with the winger heading his effort just wide.
The winger didn’t have to wait long for his next effort on goal. A brilliant pass by captain Lyndon Kane set Jamie Glackin free down the left wing with the creative midfielder playing a brilliant pass across the goal making it easy for McKendry to slot home his fifth league goal of the season right on the stroke of half-time to give the Bannsiders a 3-1 lead at the interval.
The next piece of meaningful action came in the 64th minute when the Bannsiders extended their lead. McKendry played a short corner to Conor McDermott, the full-back then put an inviting ball into the front post area with McCrudden on hand to guide the ball in from close range making it 4-1.
Oran Kearney decided to make a triple change in the 71st minute with three of the four goalscorers being replaced. Shevlin, McKendry and McCrudden made way for Eamon Fyfe, Andrew Scott and Jack O’Mahony.
The second half contained far less goal scoring chances than the first. One of the brightest pieces of play came in the 82nd minute when Andrew Scott produced a fine cross from the left hand side onto the head of fellow substitute Eamon Fyfe, but the forward’s effort however was well saved by Barr.
Scott was lively once again as he cut in from the left hand side firing a dangerous effort towards Barr’s goal in the 88th minute forcing the keeper to make a smart stop. Just a minute later, Gallagher had to be at his best down the other end as the visitors’ captain, Barry McKeown forced him to produce a brilliant save from his well struck effort.
COLERAINE: Gallagher, Kane, D. Jarvis, Brown, McKendry (Scott ’72 mins), McCrudden (O’Mahony ’72 mins), Carson, Farren, Glackin (A. Jarvis ’84 mins), McDermott, Shevlin (Fyfe ’72 mins).
Subs Not Used: Deane (GK), Mullan, McLaughlin.
PORTADOWN: Barr, Upton (McNally ’68 mins), Wilson (Russell ’84 mins), McKeown, Moorhouse (Igiehon ’68 mins), Chapman, Teggart (Balde ’56 mins), Jordan, Rodgers, McCawl, McElroy.
Subs Not Used: McKenna (GK), Stedman, Mitchell.
Referee: Steven Gregg