Sports Direct Premiership: Matchday 21

Coleraine 2 - 3 Dungannon Swifts
16 Dec 2023 - 15:00The Showgrounds

COLERAINE would succumb to a 3-2 defeat after Dungannon Swifts produced a late comeback at The Showgrounds…

By: Charlie Cooke

Oran Kearney made two changes to the starting eleven which saw Michael McCrudden replace the suspended David McDaid up front, alongside the return of Andy Scott from injury at the expense of Jake Wallace who was named on the bench.

The hosts would make a bright start as they threatened twice within the first seven minutes as Scott had a low shot saved by Declan Dunne, before Jamie Glackin dribbled into the penalty area from the right wing and his shot across goal went a couple of yards by the post.

The Swifts – who booked their place in the semi-final of the BetMcLean Cup during the week – would go close themselves on 12 minutes as Ben Gallagher’s cross was headed over the crossbar by Ethan McGee.

A minute later, Conor McKendry forced Dunne into a comfortable save after the winger cut in from the wing and had an effort towards goal. At the other end, the lively Gallagher would see a low effort from an acute angle held by Deane.

Just past the hour mark, the Bannsiders would go close as Scott’s cross was chested down by Michael McCrudden who saw his volley saved by Dunne onto the crossbar.

This would help give Coleraine their best series of chances in the first-half as Lee Lynch sent a half volley over the crossbar, with the same player then seeing a free-kick curl inches by the post.

However, with 38 minutes on the clock, the visitors would take the lead from the spot after McKendry was adjudged to have handled Adam Glenny’s cross into the box. Gareth Deane was unlucky not save Matthew Lusty’s penalty as he got a touch on ball but not enough to keep it out.

The Stripes would introduce Jack O’Mahony early in the second-half and they would have a sight of goal just before the hour mark as Lynch teed up Lyndon Kane who sent a strike wide.

Coleraine were beginning to dominate possession and territory and this led to the equaliser on 69 minutes. A cross into the box by McKendry was met by Ciaran O’Hara who bagged his second goal in as many games.

Four minutes later, the turnaround was complete as the Bannsiders went ahead. An attempted clearance by Dean Curry from Jamie Glackin’s cross meant the ball landed at the feet of Dean Jarvis who hit a crisp half volley into the roof of the net.

Despite doing the hard work by forging ahead, the Stripes would then somehow lose the contest by conceding twice within five minutes.

Rodney McAree’s side made it 2-2 on 87 minutes as Cathal McGinty’s through ball split the Bannsiders defence, allowing substitute Tomas Galvin to find the bottom corner with a well-executed finish.

As the game entered stoppage time, Dungannon would be awarded a second penalty as Lynch tangled with Lusty inside the box. The spot kick was taken by Lusty yet again, and despite his effort from 12 yards being saved, the Larne loanee was able to convert the rebound.

A disappointing end for Coleraine who face Linfield at Windsor Park next.

COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, D. Jarvis, A. Jarvis, McKendry, Farren, Lynch, Glackin (Mitchell ‘81 mins, McCrudden (Harkin ‘65 mins), Scott (O’Mahony ‘52 mins), O’Hara.

Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Cole, Wallace, Devine.

DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Dunne, McGee, Curry, Marron, Dillon, Glenny, Gallagher (Galvin ‘67 mins), McGinty, Lusty, Alves (S. Scott ‘59 mins), Bigirimana (Moore ‘83 mins).

Subs Not Used: Mitchell (GK), J. Scott, Hutchinson, Hegarty.

Referee: Ben McMaster