COLERAINE would come from behind to defeat neighbours Portstewart in the annual Wes Gregg Memorial match…
The Bannsiders would name three youngsters in the starting eleven as Jude McIntyre, Aaron Campbell and Reece Watton all formed a defensive back four alongside captain Stephen O’Donnell.
On a rainy evening at Seahaven, it was the visitors who took the lead after only nine minutes. The ball was played into the lively Bradley Tweed and he turned his marker before finding the back of the net with an instinctive finish.
On 17 minutes, the Bannsiders would draw themselves level as a corner kick by Caiolan Brennan wasn’t defended by Portstewart, allowing Andrew Mitchell to bundle the ball home from close range.
The Stripes would then hit the front on 23 minutes as two wingers combined. A superb run and cross by Dean Brown picked out Brennan inside the box and he drilled a strike past Conor Henry.
Coleraine would then try and extend their advantage as Ronan Wilson’s effort went over the crossbar, before James McLaughlin dragged an effort wide after being found inside the box. At the other end, a superb timed block by Campbell prevented Tweed from getting another strike on goal.
Former Coleraine defender John Watt, who spent over ten years at The Showgrounds, thought he dragged his side level in spectacular circumstances as his 30-yard free-kick cannoned off the woodwork.
However, just after the hour mark, Coleraine would stretch their lead as a slide tackle by Lee Forgrave inadvertently allowed Mitchell to lash home his second of the evening. Moments later, a cross by Brennan met the head of substitute Cathair Friel but he was thwarted by Reece Oliver.
Oran Kearney decided to give Joshua Callaghan, Rory Moffatt and Luke Kelly game time but it would be summer arrival Jack O’Mahony who would be denied as Oliver somehow tipped his piledriver over the crossbar.
The Stripes would grab a fourth goal of the game with five minutes to go as the ball was released to Wilson just inside the box and the midfielder let fly with a strike that found the top corner.
COLERAINE: Gallagher, McLaughlin, Wilson, O’Donnell, O’Mahony, Mitchell (Friel ’70 mins), Brennan, D. Brown (Callaghan ’84 mins), McIntyre, Campbell (Moffatt ’70 mins), Watton (Kelly ’70 mins).