COLERAINE moved up to second in the Danske Bank Premiership following Saturday afternoon’s narrow victory against Glentoran at a windswept Oval…
In a game where both sides found it hard to find a rhythm, Jamie Glackin’s second-half strike, which came direct from a corner kick, helped the Bannsiders to all three points
Oran Kearney made three changes from the side that defeated Banbridge Town in the Irish Cup last week as Gareth McConaghie, Ian Parkhill and James McLaughlin made way. New recruit Stewart Nixon was handed his debut for the Bannsiders after joining the club from Carrick Rangers on transfer deadline day whilst Eoin Bradley and Josh Carson returned to the starting eleven.
Storm Ciara presented difficulties for both sides in the opening stages as the swirling wind howled around The Oval. Both sides cancelled each other out in the opening exchanges and there was little to report by way of meaningful chances.
Glentoran had the first shot of the game as Elvio Van Overbeek fired wide on 20 minutes.
Three minutes later, Coleraine were awarded a penalty as Eoin Bradley was fouled inside the box. The striker produced some quality footwork to beat Gavin Peers who eventually brought the frontman down. Bradley regrouped to take the spot-kick but he blazed his effort high over the crossbar.
However, the Bannsiders were dealt with a blow moments later as Bradley limped off with a hamstring injury. The home side were presented with another opportunity before the half-hour mark as Navid Nasseri fired a cross into the box which fell to Van Overbeek. The winger looked to pull the trigger, however, Josh Carson was on hand to block the ball behind for a corner.
The home side almost took the lead on 36 minutes as some great link-up play from Nasseri and Van Overbeek opened up an opportunity for an attempt at goal but midfielder Chris Gallagher fired wide.
At half-time, the scores were level as Eoin Bradley’s penalty miss was the main talking point of the opening 45 minutes. The windy conditions made it difficult for both sides to get the ball down and play but Coleraine would have the wind to their advantage in the second half.
On 54 minutes, debutant Stewart Nixon looked to have sparked the game into life but his whistling drive from the edge of the box drifted over the crossbar. Josh Carson had an attempt three minutes later but his stab at goal failed to hit the target.
Jamie Glackin fired Coleraine ahead on 64 minutes in spectacular fashion as he curled the ball into the back of the net directly from a corner. Glentoran goalkeeper Marijan Antolovic came to collect the ball which was held up in the wind and making it difficult for the tall Croatian to claim the ball.
The Bannsiders almost doubled their lead in the 71st minute as Nixon and Glackin combined to tee the ball up for James McLaughlin but he was denied a shot at goal by a gutsy tackle from Glentoran captain Marcus Kane.
Coleraine were hungry for a second and piled on the pressure from set-pieces as the wind was proving difficult for Antolovic. James McLaughlin tried his luck from distance midway through the second half but he Glentoran stopper was equal to the effort.
Glentoran were relentless in attack as they went in search of an equaliser but Coleraine defended astutely. Right at the death, Nasseri broke down the left wing after Lyndon Kane slipped to leave acres of space to run into. The winger crossed into the box but McDaid flicked his header over the crossbar handing the win to Coleraine.
GLENTORAN: Antolovic, Kane, Peers, Gallagher, McDaid, McClean, Nasseri, Cowan (Crowe ’46 mins), Van Overbeek (O’Neill ’79 mins), Mitchell (Matulevicius ’67 mins), Marron.
Subs Not Used: Morris (GK), Garrett, Pepper, O’Connor.
COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Canning, Lowry, Bradley (McLaughlin ’30 mins), Carson, O’Donnell, Glackin, Traynor, Nixon.
Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Douglas, McConaghie, Parkhill, McGuckin, Fitzpatrick.
Referee: Raymond Crangle