COLERAINE remain top of the Danske Bank Premiership after second-half strikes from Josh Carson and Darren McCauley (2) earn the Bannsiders all three points at the Bangor Fuels Arena…
The result marks the first time that the Stripes have won their opening six league games of a new season and still remain three points clear of second-placed Linfield.
It was a rather lacklustre start to the game with both teams cancelling each other out in the opening stages.
Coleraine had the first meaningful chance of the game. On 22 minutes Stephen O’Donnell found himself unmarked from a corner but his headed effort was to no avail. Moments later O’Donnell had another chance from a corner but he failed to capitalise.
Jonny Frazer had a chance to give Ards the lead on 25 minutes. The winger went through on goal but some smart goalkeeping from Chris Johns seen him gather the ball from the feet of Frazer.
Ian Parkhill and Josh Carson had efforts midway through the first half but the Coleraine duo were unable to convert.
The pressure continued from the visitors as Brad Lyons looked to have given Coleraine the lead from a corner. Darren McCauley’s delivery was met by Lyons at the back post but his volley was blocked by the Ards defence. Josh Carson latched onto the follow-up but his left-footed effort was again blocked by Glendinning.
Frazer had another chance for Ards just before half-time but he dragged his effort wide of the post. With that the half-time whistle sounded and it was honours even at the break.
Eoin Bradley had the best chance of the second-half for Coleraine as he latched onto Carson’s through ball, the striker raced clear but his right-footed effort was easily held by Hogg in the Ards goal.
The pressure from the visitors paid off as Coleraine took the lead on 56 minutes. Some neat play and a goal bound effort from McGonigle forced Hogg into a smart save in the Ards goal. The keeper flew low to his left to parry McGonigle’s effort but winger Josh Carson was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Moments later Oran Kearney’s side doubled their advantage through the in-form Darren McCauley. A poor clearance from an Eoin Bradley cross fell into the path of McCauley who made no mistake in slotting home.
Ards immediately looked for a way back into the game as they mounted an attack of their own. Some good link-up play released Gareth Tommons but his snapshot was well saved by Chris Johns.
Coleraine could have gone further in-front on 70 minutes. A great move down the right between McGonigle and Carson evaded the Ards defenders allowing McGonigle to fire the ball into the box but Bradley fired his shot straight at the keeper.
Moments later the visitors extended their lead via a Darren McCauley penalty. Jamie McGonigle was fouled inside the area and McCauley calmly dispatched the spot kick.
As the game reached a climax Coleraine looked comfortable with no real threat coming from Colin Nixon’s side as the Bannsiders sealed a vital three points on the road.
COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, Ogilby, McCauley (Kirk ’88), Bradley (McCready ’77), Carson, Lyons, O’Donnell, Parkhill (McGonigle ’52), Traynor.
Subs Not Used: Douglas, Whiteside.