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Danske Bank Premiership: Matchday 7

Carrick Rangers 0 - 2 Coleraine
23 Feb 2021 - 19:45Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena

COLERAINE moved up to third in the Danske Bank Premiership as a brace from Curtis Allen sealed a 2-0 win against Carrick Rangers…

After a goalless first-half, Allen – who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday – scored two predatory strikes to make it a good evening for Oran Kearney’s men.

With the busy schedule, Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney made five changes to the starting line-up as Martin Gallagher, Stephen O’Donnell, Ronan Wilson, Aaron Jarvis and Curtis Allen were all drafted in.

After passing a pitch inspection at 4pm, the Bannsiders would enjoy having the wind in their backs in the first-half but it would it be the hosts who would have the first opportunity of the game as Lee Chapman’s ambitious effort sailed over the crossbar.

On 21 minutes, Coleraine – who came into the match on a ten match unbeaten run – threatened as Jamie Glackin’s corner kick was drifted goal wards by the wind and Carrick ‘keeper Aaron Hogg was forced to claw the ball off the line. That would result in a goal mouth melee as Stephen O’Donnell and Curtis Allen were both denied from close range.

The Amber Army had Hogg to thank seven minutes later as he was alert to grab the ball from Stewart Nixon’s cross as Jamie Glackin looked certain to turn the ball home. At the other end, Chapman would once again have a strike from distance that failed to test Coleraine goalkeeper Martin Gallagher.

The ball would be in the net on 45 minutes as Stephen Lowry’s pass cut through the hosts’ defence and land at the feet of Lyndon Kane. The full-back squared the ball to Curtis Allen who lashed home but he would be denied by the linesman’s flag.

Oran Kearney’s men would make a bright start to the second-half and they almost made the breakthrough on 49 minutes as a superb cross from Ronan Wilson found Aaron Jarvis at the back post but he was thwarted from close range.

After Carrick threatened through Lloyd Anderson, the Bannsiders shuffled their pack as they brought on Matthew Shevlin and it almost paid dividends as he squared the ball to Josh Carson but his daisy cutter was held by Hogg.

However, the deadlock was broken on 58 minutes as Lyndon Kane picked up the ball and drove forward and played a one-two with Allen. Just when it looked like he was going to shoot, he was fouled by Mark Surgeoner but referee Lee Tavinder played the advantage with Allen making no mistake from close range.

The game was put to bed on 76 minutes as the ball fortuitously landed at Allen who grabbed his 11th career goal against Carrick Rangers. The hosts would miss a great chance to force a grandstand finish as a cross found substitute Jordan Gibson inside the box but his header was superbly saved by Gallagher.

A good night’s work for the Bannsiders who now get ready to face Warrenpoint Town this Saturday.

CARRICK RANGERS: Hogg, Neale, Surgenor, Loughran (Forsythe ’69 mins), Chapman, Kelly, Smith (Gibson ’58 mins), Anderson, Jenkins, Storey, Ramsey (Rodgers ’43 mins).

Subs Not Used: McKinty (GK), Cherry, Glendinning, Millar.

COLERAINE: Gallagher, Kane, Canning, Jarvis, Lowry, Carson, Wilson, O’Donnell (McConaghie ’41 mins), Glackin (Parkhill ’82 mins), Allen, Nixon (Shevlin ’53 mins).

Subs Not Used: Douglas, Bradley, Tweed, Brennan.

Referee: Lee Tavinder