COLERAINE would score a goal in each half as they edged out Loughgall at The Showgrounds…
With the Bannsiders on double duty this weekend, boss Oran Kearney fielded a mixture of first-team players and ones for the future as Robert McLean, Lewis Tosh, Caiolan Brennan, Eoghan Devine and Rhys Tredrea were all given a chance to impress.
Loughgall would create the first chance of the evening through a familiar source as one-time Coleraine man Nedas Maciulaitis failed to find the target from inside the box, before his strike partner Nathaniel Ferris poked wide from six yards.
It took until the 21st minute for the Bannsiders to create their first chance of the evening as Stewart Nixon forced Berat Turker into a routine stop. At the other end, Maciulaitis and Ferris combined well inside the box but the former failed to test Martin Gallagher.
On the hour mark, the Stripes had a scare as ex-Larne winger Pablo Andrade was afforded too much time in the box and his shot cannoned off the post. However, three minutes later, Coleraine would take the lead as Brennan’s through ball found Eoin Bradley who smashed a strike into the bottom corner.
The Stripes almost extended their advantage before the break as Nixon tested Turker after being found inside the box by Evan Tweed, before the stopper was alert to deny Bradley after he played a neat one two with Nixon. The hosts thought they had added a second on 39 minutes as Brennan’s header was tapped home by Bradley but he was adjudged to have been offside.
Coleraine would be awarded a penalty two minutes into the second-half as Nixon went to ground inside the area but Bradley’s spot kick was well saved by Turker. However, it wouldn’t take long for a second goal to arrive as Brennan played another fantastic through ball this time for Nixon who made no mistake.
On the hour mark, Turker was proving his worth once again as he saved from Brennan and Nixon, with Tweed heading wide from Nixon’s cross as Coleraine chased a killer third goal on the Ballycastle Road.
The visitors would ensure a tense finish as substitute Rhys Tredrea was penalised for a foul inside the box. The ball was grabbed by Ross Hunter who comfortably dispatched his spot kick to reduce the arrears to a single goal as Coleraine held firm in the last seven minutes to claim victory.
COLERAINE: Gallagher, Trialist A (Devine), Beverland (Tredrea), McLean, Tosh, Parkhill, Carson, Tweed, Brennan, Nixon, Bradley.
Unused Sub: Trialist B.
LOUGHGALL: Turker, Kerr, Rea, Murdock, Cartwright, Andrade, Neill, McCullough, Malone, Maciulaitis, Ferris.
Used Subs: Hegan, Holloway, Hunter, Dunne, McCann, Scott, Hoey.