ORAN Kearney registered his first win as Coleraine manager since his return as the Bannsiders ran out 4-2 winners at Windsor Park…
The match was just 14 seconds old when Coleraine took the lead as the Bannsiders attacked straight from the kick-off and Ben Doherty curled a delightful effort into the corner.
It would prove to be a feisty opening 20 minutes as Lyndon Kane, Stephen O’Donnell and Matthew Clarke all entered referee Keith Kennedy’s notebook.
On 26 minutes, the Stripes doubled their lead as an inswinging corner from Doherty caused confusion in the Linfield penalty area and defender Ryan McGivern headed the ball into his own net.
The Blues – who are scheduled to face Qarabag in the first leg of the Europa League play-off on Thursday night – threatened moments later as Jamie Mulgrew fired wide from distance.
Coleraine almost grabbed a third on the counter as Stephen Lowry had the vision to pick out Eoin Bradley on the left-hand side. The striker ran into the box and his cross just missed the onrushing Dean Shiels.
Before the half-time whistle, Linfield went close as a ball into the Coleraine penalty area wasn’t defended and Joel Cooper’s powerful drive was blocked by an alert Lyndon Kane.
Linfield made two substitutions within the first 15 minutes of the second-half to find a way back into the match, but it would be the visitors who would go further ahead. On 61 minutes, another fantastic delivery from Doherty was won in the air by Stephen O’Donnell who headed home his first goal of the season.
The Champions would give themselves a lifeline on 65 minutes as Joel Cooper’s well driven free-kick took a deflection and found the back of the net. Incredibly, the home side would reduce the deficit to a single goal on 72 minutes as substitute Shayne Lavery headed home unmarked from a corner.
The Blues would be reduced to 10 men on 78 minutes as McGivern – who was already booked – brought down Bradley as the striker bore down on goal. From the resulting free-kick, Bradley forced Rohan Ferguson into action.
The game was put to bed on 90 minutes as Kirk Millar’s poor back pass was seized upon by Emmett McGuckin. The summer arrival from Dergview calmly rounded Ferguson and slotted home to mark a memorable debut for the striker.
LINFIELD: Ferguson, Callacher, Waterworth, Cooper, Stewart (Millar ’49 mins), Clarke (Lavery ’58 mins), Kearns (Hery ’65 mins), Fallon, Mulgrew, McGivern, Casement.
Subs Not Used: Moore (GK), Larkin, Mitchell, Quinn.
COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Mullan (Douglas ’57 mins), Canning, Doherty, Lowry, Bradley (McGuckin ’90 mins), Carson, O’Donnell, Glackin, Shiels (Parkhill ’81 mins).
Subs Not Used: Doherty (GK), McConaghie, Burns, Gawne.
Referee: Keith Kennedy