COLERAINE finished their pre-season preparations in fine style as they swept to a 4-0 win against Ards at a damp Showgrounds…
Oran Kearney fielded two trialists in the back four and named a strong starting eleven for the visit of the Championship side.
It would be one of those trialists who would have the first attempt on goal as he cut in from the right-hand side before forcing Niel Shields into tipping his rasping drive over the crossbar.
However, there was nothing Shields could do with 15 minutes on the clock as Coleraine took the lead. Quick work from David McDaid and Matthew Shevlin saw the latter having a shot deflected into the path of Andy Scott who couldn’t miss from close range.
Soon after, the Bannsiders would have two sights of goal as Conor McKendry and Scott both saw efforts go off target, whilst at the other end, Gareth Deane had a scare as an Ards attacker sent his attempt just inches by the far post.
Just before the half-time whistle, McKendry would go close yet again as his quick feet allowed the winger to have a shot on goal that was deflected wide for a corner.
Two minutes after the restart, Coleraine will feel they should have extended their advantage as an inch perfect pass by Jamie Glackin released Shevlin inside the box but the marksman was thwarted by Shields.
The resulting corner kick would pay dividends as two former Larne team-mates combined as Lee Lynch’s set piece was inch perfect for Dean Jarvis who headed into the back of the net.
To their credit, Ards never gave up and had two big chances to reduce the arrears as Salou Jallow and Max Miller both tested the gloves of Deane from good positions.
After Shevlin would see two chances come and go, there was no stopping last season’s joint Golden Boot winner from getting in on the act. A fantastic delivery from the left-hand side put the ball on a sixpence for Shevlin who calmly nodded the ball into the net for 3-1.
With ten minutes remaining, the goalscoring would be complete as McDaid showed great vision to pick out Ciaran O’Hara inside the box and the Northern Ireland youth international did the rest by finishing with aplomb.
A good work out for Kearney’s side as the real thing gets under way next week at home to Ballymena United.
COLERAINE: Deane, D. Jarvis, Kelly, McKendry (Kane ’46 mins), Lowry, McDaid, Glackin, Shevlin (O’Hara ’75 mins), Scott (Lynch ’46 mins) Trialist, Trialist.
Sub Not Used: O’Donnell
Referee: Gareth Stewart