Sports Direct Premiership: Matchday 36

Linfield 2 - 2 Coleraine
16 Apr 2024 - 19:45Windsor Park

COLERAINE produced late heroics to score an injury-time equaliser in a four-goal thriller against Linfield at Windsor Park…

Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney made two changes for the contest as Kieran Farren replaced Stephen O’Donnell in the heart of the back four, whilst Alfie Gaston was handed his maiden Premiership start at the expense of Aidan Tejada.

Coleraine would make a bright start in the capital as neat play on the right-hand side resulted in Jack Scott’s cross finding the head of Matthew Shevlin but the striker was denied by Chris Johns.

It would be a similar theme on 25 minutes but this time it was Jamie Glackin who was the provider as his cross was on the money for Shevlin but Johns was there once again to make the save.

On 36 minutes, the visitors would go close yet again as good build-up play allowed Gaston to burst inside the box. The talented midfielder danced his way around his marker but failed to keep his effort below the crossbar.

Linfield’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes would be created by the dangerous Kirk Millar as his delivery found Chris McKee but Rory Brown was alert to save the attempt.

However, Coleraine would take a half-time lead as they broke the deadlock a minute before the interval. A crisp through ball by Josh Carson sent Jamie McGonigle on his way and the striker converted into the bottom corner.

The Blues knew a win was paramount in their quest to reclaim the Gibson Cup and they would equalise a minute after Millar’s free-kick went the wrong side of the post. A cross into the area by the lively Millar was guided into the net by substitute Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Six minutes later, David Healy’s men completed the turnaround as they were awarded a penalty when Fitzpatrick went to ground – with the linesman instructing Christopher Morrison to point to the spot. The resulting penalty was dispatched by Chris Shields to give Linfield the lead.

On the hour mark, Coleraine had Brown to thank as a dangerous delivery into the box by Millar found McKee totally unmarked but the ex-Rangers trainee was denied at close range by the legs of Brown.

Kearney brought on Lee Lynch and Conor McKendry in a bid to get back into the game and both players would have sights of goal from distance which failed to find the target.

But there would be late drama at the National Stadium as the Stripes equalised in the seventh minute of additional time. A sublime cross into the box by Lynch was met at the back post by Shevlin who found the back of the net.

Another good performance by Coleraine who continue their post-split schedule with the visit of Crusaders on Saturday.

LINFIELD: Johns, Finlayson, Shields, Millar, McClean, Cooper (Newberry ’83 mins), Hall, Clarke (Fitzpatrick ’46 mins), McKee (McCullough ’89 mins), Mulgrew (Graham ’54 mins), McGee.

Subs Not Used: Walsh (GK), McBrien, Annett.

COLERAINE: Brown, Kane, D. Jarvis (A. Scott ’82 mins), Kelly, Shevlin, Carson, Farren, Glackin, J. Scott, McGonigle (McKendry ’63 mins), Gaston (Lynch ’63 mins).

Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), A. Jarvis, McDaid, Devine.

Referee: Christopher Morrison