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Danske Bank Premiership: Matchday 5

Linfield 1 - 1 Coleraine
18 Sep 2021 - 15:00Windsor Park

CONOR McKendry’s wonder strike earned Coleraine a deserved share of the spoils in an entertaining clash at Windsor Park…

The Bannsiders made four changes from the BetMcLean League Cup win against Bangor as Aaron Traynor, Stephen Lowry, Josh Carson and Matthew Shevlin were reinstated to the starting eleven at the expense of Adam Mullan, Evan Tweed, Aaron Jarvis and Cathair Friel.

Linfield settled the quickest and threatened after eight minutes when Christy Manzinga was brought down at the edge of the area. Set piece specialist Kirk Millar took centre stage but his goal bound effort was deflected wide by the body of Lyndon Kane.

On 10 minutes, Coleraine would have their first sight of goal as a defensive error by Jimmy Callacher allowed Matthew Shevlin to retrieve possession. The striker was brought down with referee Shane Andrews playing advantage and Jamie Glackin’s ambitious lob from 40 yards sailed wide.

The travelling support thought they had watched their side take the lead on 15 minutes as neat play resulted in Josh Carson’s cross missing a vital touch from the outstretched Shevlin. The ball would land at the feet of Conor McKendry but his driven attempt was blocked by the legs of Trai Hume. Minutes later, more good football by Coleraine would see Wilson release Aaron Traynor, and just when the full-back looked certain to shoot, he was thwarted by a timely intervention from Jamie Mulgrew.

Oran Kearney’s side provided the greater intent going forward and they carved out another chance just after the half hour mark as Glackin headed the ball down into the path of McKendry but his daisy cutter failed to trouble Johns. At the other end, Linfield quickly moved the ball out to Trai Hume on the right-hand side but the full back’s strike was always rising over the crossbar.

Before the half-time whistle, the Stripes would create two further chances as McKendry’s ball picked out the run of Kane and his cross was headed wide by Shevlin. A minute later, a cross by McKendry was headed over the top by Traynor who burst forward into the box.

Linfield would come out of the traps in the second-half and would have a sight of goal on 50 minutes as Manzinga received the ball on the right-hand side and his strike was held by Deane. 

A substitution would see Rodney Brown revert into the left-back position and he would have the next opportunity of the game as the ex-Crusaders man blazed over from 25 yards after being picked out by Shevlin. 

The deadlock would be broken on 64 minutes as Stephen Fallon picked up a pocket of space outside the box and the midfielder cleverly picked out the run of Manzinga. The striker would make no mistake from close range as he dinked the ball over the advancing Deane.

Kearney’s men went in search of an instant equaliser and it almost arrived 60 seconds later as Glackin robbed Mulgrew deep in the Linfield half. The number 17 advanced forward and released Shevlin but just when the former Ballymena United man looked like shooting, he was denied by a superb tackle from Chris Shields.

Coleraine brought on Cathair Friel, fresh from scoring a hat trick in the midweek win at Bangor, but he would turn goal provider on 85 minutes. The Limavady man would get the ball from Glackin’s flick on and squared to McKendry who unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner.

Linfield thought they had bagged a late winner on 89 minutes as two substitutes would combine for the final opportunity of the contest. A clever reverse pass by Jordan Stewart released Billy Chadwick but he blazed wide with the goal at his mercy.

LINFIELD: Johns, Newberry, Shields, Callacher, Millar, Hume, Manzinga (Chadwick ’84 mins), M. Clarke, Fallon (Palmer ’73 mins), Mulgrew, Green (Stewart ’70 mins)

Subs Not Used: Walsh (GK), Larkin, Donnelly, Salam.

COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, Brown, McKendry, Lowry, Carson, Wilson (Friel ’73 mins), O’Donnell, Glackin, Traynor (Mullan ’57 mins), Shevlin (Tweed ’89 mins).

Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Jarvis, Parkhill, Kelly.

Referee: Shane Andrews