COLERAINE made it back-to-back wins in the Danske Bank Premiership as first-half goals from Stephen O’Donnell and Ben Doherty sealed a 2-1 success against Glentoran…
Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney named an unchanged line-up for a third successive game and his troops made a bright start as they took the lead on six minutes. A free-kick from the left by Ben Doherty was glanced into the bottom corner by captain Stephen O’Donnell for his first goal of the season.
Storm Aiden would cause problems for both teams in the first-half and it took until 22 minutes for the next chance to arrive as Glentoran’s defence blocked two or three efforts inside the box before the visitors were able to clear their lines.
Just before the half hour mark, the Irish Cup holders should have drawn level as a crisp delivery from Bobby Burns found Robbie McDaid unmarked but the striker failed to convert from 10 yards. At the other end, Coleraine would squander another chance as Stewart Nixon’s powerful run and cross found Stephen Lowry but he couldn’t steer his header on target.
The Stripes were pressing for a second goal and it was close to arriving on 40 minutes as another delivery from Doherty found Gareth McConaghie at the back post, but the big defender was unable to get a meaningful touch on the ball.
However, the hosts’ pressure would pay dividends in first-half stoppage time as they doubled their advantage. The impressive Lowry would pick up possession and weighted a perfect through ball into the path of Doherty who confidently slotted past Dayle Coleing.
The Bannsiders would create the first chance of the second-half as James McLaughlin let fly from 25 yards that forced Coleing into a save, before the shot stopper was called into action once again to prevent Evan Tweed from grabbing his first goal in Coleraine colours.
However, the game would change on its head on 63 minutes as McLaughlin was dismissed for a tackle on Glentoran defender Bobby Burns. After a considerable delay, the Northern Ireland under-21 international had to be stretchered off the pitch.
Despite being a man down, Coleraine were still creating chances that would have settled the fixture as Nixon tested the hands of Coleing from distance on 73 minutes. There would be further frustration ten minutes later as Glackin crossed the ball for Doherty but he struck wide from a good position.
On 84 minutes, Coleraine had ‘keeper Gareth Deane to thank as he made a superb save to keep out McDaid’s effort after the forward had been picked out by Seanan Clucas. On 89 minutes, the visitors would ensure there would be a nervy finish as Caolan Marron’s cross picked out Jay Donnelly and he steered a header into the bottom corner.
Eight minutes of additional time were signalled by the assistant referee but despite Glentoran pressure, the Bannsiders held firm to clinch a deserved three points.
COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, Doherty, Lowry, McLaughlin, Carson, McConaghie, Tweed, O’Donnell, Glackin (Wilson ’90+6 mins), Nixon (Parkhill ’86 mins).
Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Douglas, Jarvis, Allen, Tosh.
GLENTORAN: Coleing, McCullough, Bigirimana, O’Neill (McDonagh ’61 mins), R. Donnelly, McDaid, Clucas, Burns (McClean ’69 mins), O’Connor (J. Donnelly ’72 mins), Marron, Cowan.
Subs Not Used: Morris (GK), Gallagher, Gorman, Mitchell.
Referee: Jamie Robinson