COLERAINE and Glenavon were forced to settle for a point as both sides produced an entertaining performance at a wind-swept Showgrounds…
The Bannsiders were forced to wait until the 10th minute to carve out the first opportunity of the match as Jamie McGonigle’s cross-field ball found the run of Eoin Bradley. The striker took a neat first touch but blazed over. Four minutes later, Josh Carson would try his luck from distance but his effort failed to trouble Johnny Tuffey.
The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes as Stephen Lowry’s shot was charged down by the alert Jamie Glackin who forced Tuffey into a stop. The ball presented itself to Bradley who converted from close range for his 6th goal of the season.
The Lurgan Blues began to get a foothold into the game and should have equalised on 23 minutes as a long ball found the run of Stephen Murray. The attacker – who scored a hat-trick on his previous appearance at The Showgrounds – burst into the box, and whilst it looked like he was going to score, Aaron Canning put in a timely challenge to prevent the danger.
Six minutes later, the Irish Cup holders had to put in another last gasp challenge as Jordan Jenkins beat the offside trap and bore down on goal, but Gareth McConaghie produced a timely challenge to keep the Bannsiders’ slender lead in tact.
On the stroke of half-time, Rodney McAree’s men should have doubled their lead as the ball presented itself to Adam Mullan in front of goal, but the full-back spent too much time in making a decision and Tuffey was there to deny the full-back.
Gary Hamilton’s troops made a bright start with the wind and tested Chris Johns on 49 minutes as hesitant defending allowed Murray to force Johns into an acrobatic stop. However, Johns would be beaten a minute later as Josh Daniels rolled the ball into the path of Niall Grace who arrowed an unstoppable strike into the top corner.
The Stripes responded and thought they had regained the lead on 54 minutes as McGonigle’s goal bound free-kick had to be tipped over the bar by Tuffey. At the other end, Coleraine had Johns to thank as the stopper somehow managed to deny Jenkins from close range on two occasions.
In an end-to-end second-half, Sammy Clingan would fail to find the target from the edge of the box and Murray would test Johns’ gloves as Glenavon chased all three points. However it would be the home supporters who would rue missed chances late on as the impressive Ben Doherty fired inches wide after a strong run from midfield.
At the death, Coleraine would win several corner kicks and Canning headed over with the final one as the Bannsiders remain four points behind Glenavon ahead of next Friday night’s clash against Ards.
COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan (Douglas ’82 mins), Lowry, E Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, Glackin, (Parkhill ’82 mins), McGonigle, B Doherty, Edgar, Canning.
Subs Not Used: M Doherty, O’Donnell, Owens, J Bradley, Moore.
GLENAVON: Tuffey, King, Marron, Grace, Daniels, Marshall, Hall (McCloskey ’46 mins), Clingan, Murray, Singleton, Jenkins (Hamilton ’71 mins).
Subs Not Used: Donnelly, Harmon, Larmour, Norton, Sharkey.
Referee: Ross Dunlop