A strong first-half would do the damage as Coleraine beat a battling Portadown 3-0 at The Showgrounds…
By: Charlie Cooke
Oran Kearney would name a strong starting line-up for the visit of the Championship side as ten first-team players were joined by a trialist for the clash against Niall Currie’s men.
Just after kick off, Portadown had the first passage of attacking play which saw a long ball attempted to be played over the top of the Coleraine defence but it was well dealt with by Graham Kelly. Just a minute after that, the Ports tried to attack down the right wing, but the ball is cut out by a well-executed piece of defending by Andy Scott.
The next piece of attacking play saw Conor McKendry cut in from the right wing and have his shot saved by the Ports goalkeeper.
On seven minutes, the deadlock was broken after a brilliant solo run by McKendry who cut in from just outside the box on the right wing, mesmerizing the Ports defenders with his movement and with the space he created for himself, he unleashed a shot that swerved into the top left corner of the net.
As we came up to 20 minutes, the Ports launched a dangerous long ball that is well dealt with by Stephen O’Donnell with a header, however, the ball landed at a Ports attacker feet but the situation was well defended by Kelly, who was quick to act before any damage could be done.
The Bannsiders’ pressure continued to build as on 23 minutes McKendry is fouled again which seen Coleraine awarded a free kick, with the same player hitting the defensive wall from the following set-piece.
On 26 minutes, Jamie Glackin found trialist on the right wing with a lovely weighted through ball which landed right at his feet. The speedy trialist ran into the space in front of him and lifted a pinpoint accurate cross which Matthew Shevlin finished with a comfortable header.
Just past the half hour mark, McKendry is fouled again just outside the D in the Ports half out of frustration. The resulting free kick is used to start a passing move which found Glackin who picked out Scott just outside the box. The wide man took a touch before hitting the ball low and hard which beats the Ports ‘keeper for 3-0.
Just before the half-time whistle, there was a quick flurry of events, the first of which is when Scott received the ball on the left wing and has a cross come shot saved by the Ports ‘keeper.
Soon after, McKendry dribbled into box and passed to trialist who had his shot blocked, before Scott terrorized the Ports defence from the right wing and his low effort to the near post meant he was unlucky not to score again.
With two minutes gone of second half, the Ports had the first dangerous attack on the left wing which saw a good cross being delivered, fortunately for the Bannsiders no one was on the end of it. The Ports sent in a good cross from the corner which met by a Portadown player luckily for Coleraine, Martin Gallagher was able to tip the ball over the bar.
On 54 minutes, McKendry received on the right wing and dribbled in the box before having his shot blocked. Just before hour mark, Stephen O’Donnell makes a captain’s tackle as he makes contact with the ball but none of the man inside the box.
Just after the hour mark, trialist impressed the crowd with a piece of skill before finding Lynch with a pass inside the box. The Limerick native turns on the spot and saw his shot well saved by the Ports ‘keeper.
With less than 15 minutes to go, Gallagher plays a long ball down the left wing that found Scott in space he cuts in and has shot that is comfortably saved by the Ports ‘keeper.
With three minutes of the game, our trialist picked up the ball and dribbled into the box although his cross across the goal mouth just missed a vital goalwards touch.
COLERAINE: Gallagher, D. Jarvis, Kelly, McKendry (L. Kelly 82 mins), Lowry, O’Donnell, Lynch, Glackin, Shevlin, Scott (O’Hara ;82 mins), Trialist.