COLERAINE slip to fifth in the Danske Bank Premiership after a narrow defeat against Linfield…
Goals from Gareth McConaghie and Dean Shiels put the Bannsiders ahead at the break but a spirited fight back from the home side denied Coleraine the win.
Coleraine enjoyed a positive start against Linfield, carving out the opening chance of the game on six minutes. Ben Doherty picked the ball up in the middle before driving towards goal but his weak attempt was easily gathered by Gareth Deane.
Almost immediately the Bannsiders struck the upright. Jamie Glackin knocked Ian Parkhill’s cross into the path of Jamie McGonigle. The striker lashed his effort towards goal forcing Deane to tip the ball onto his near post.
Rodney McAree’s men were almost punished on 15 minutes. Ian Parkhill’s as weak clearance fell to the feet of Niall Quinn. The full back crossed for Kirk Millar who blazed his first time shot over the crossbar.
Coleraine’s persistence paid off as they grabbed the lead on 19 minutes. Tenacious work allowed Jamie Glackin to keep the ball in play from an over hit corner. His pinpoint delivery picked out defender Gareth McConaghie who volleyed home from inside the six yard box.
The visitors looked comfortable for large periods of the first half with Linfield offering little by way of chances.
The Bannsiders almost extended their lead on 42 minutes. Jamie Glackin controlled Ian Parkhill’s ball in midfield before advancing towards goal. The Linfield defence backed off the attacker presenting an opening to goal but his strike was well saved.
At half time Coleraine were worthy of their lead as Gareth McConaghie’s effort proved to be the difference between the side.
Linfield looked resurgent after the break but their brief spell of pressure came unstuck when Dean Shiels extended Coleraine’s lead on 48 minutes. A well worked move from Jamie McGonigle released Parkhill down the right and his dangerous cross found Shiels who flicked the ball over the line.
Linfield felt the goal should not have stood as the ball did not cross the line, but their appeals were waved away by referee Shane Andrews.
Linfield pulled a goal back via Josh Robinson on 57 minutes. Coleraine failed to clear Niall Quinn’s free kick and the ball fell kindly for the defender who rattled the ball home from close range.
The Bannsiders had a great chance on 62 minutes. Dean Shiels’ ball over the top was knocked down to Jamie McGonigle by Parkhill, the striker opted for the first time shot but failed to hit the target.
Linfield mounted the pressure and grabbed an equaliser on 68 minutes. Niall Quinn made a strong run from deep, arriving inside the area to dispatch a cut back from Marek Cervenka into the top corner.
Coleraine introduced Dylan Davidson and James McLaughlin midway through the second half in an attempt to get a foothold back in the match.
Linfield looked to have made a complete turnaround on 75 minutes as Andrew Waterworth had the ball in the net but his effort was ruled out for offside.
David Healy’s side looked to have grabbed the lead for the home side on 82 minutes. Kirk Millar’s cross was flicked on by Joel Cooper finding O’Connor in space at the back post but his effort crashed off the post.
The Bannsiders almost regained the lead on 85 minutes via James McLaughlin. Dylan Davidson broke free down the right before crossing for McLaughlin whose header forced an expert save from Gareth Deane.
Linfield grabbed the winner on 89 minutes completing a second half fight back for David Healy’s side. Coleraine failed to clear from a corner, the ball fell for Kyle McClean who fired low into the bottom corner to secure the win.
LINFIELD: Deane, Robinson, Callacher, Waterworth (Cooper 82), Stewart, Millar, McClean, Mulgrew (c), Cervenka (O’Connor 75), Quinn, Casement
Subs not used: Mitchell, Stafford, Clarke, Kearns, McGivern
COLERAINE: Johns, Lowry (c), McConaghie, Parkhill (Davidson 72), McGonigle (McLaughlin 72), Canning, Doherty, Edgar (Mullan 78), Glackin, Shiels, King
Subs not used: Doherty, Bradley, O’Donnell, Burke
Referee: Shane Andrews