COLERAINE and Larne played out a well fought stalemate at The Showgrounds as both teams would hit the woodwork in the second-half…
By: Charlie Cooke
Oran Kearney made three changes to Coleraine’s starting line-up which saw Andrew Mitchell start instead of Lee Harkin, Jack O’Mahony in for the suspended Jamie Glackin and Lee Lynch started in midfield instead of Stephen O’Donnell who was absent through injury.
The first chance arrived on nine minutes as Larne were awarded a free-kick just outside the Coleraine penalty box. The taker would be Lee Bonis who hit his effort low and hard but Gareth Deane got down low to thwart the ball away.
With 12 minutes played, Aaron Jarvis had his low cross blocked from the right wing as the ball went out for a corner. The set piece was taken short which allowed Conor McKendry who found space to have a shot from just outside the Larne penalty area on the far-right corner, but unfortunately for the Bannsiders, the ball went well over the crossbar.
One minute later, Deane is called into action once again as Joe Thomson had a long range shot from about 25 yards out. However, Gareth was alert to midfielder’s effort as he palmed the ball down and smothered it.
On 19 minutes, McKendry fizzed a searching cross into Larne’s penalty area, the ball landed at the feet of Lee Lynch whose powerful shot blazed over the woodwork.
As the clocked ticked by 30 minutes, a brilliant piece of team play saw Aaron Jarvis, Lynch and Andy Scott combine to find Davy McDaid just outside Larne’s box. The striker turned to find a wall of Larne defenders in his way but he still found a pocket of space to get his shot away which was dragged wide.
With five minutes of the first-half remaining, Bonis found space on the right, he drilled a dangerous low ball across the Bannsiders’ box which looked certain to find an unmarked Thomson inside the area. Thankfully, Deane was alert and dived low to gather the ball before it reached the Larne man.
Five minutes into the second half, the Bannsiders were awarded a free kick just outside the box on the right wing. The set piece would be taken by Lee Lynch and his cross found the head Aaron Jarvis who couldn’t divert the well-placed cross on target.
With 55 minutes played, Scott then tested the gloves of Rohan Ferguson as he cut in from the left wing and had a shot from 25 yards.
Just before the hour mark, Larne would hit the crossbar in somewhat fortituious circumstances as substitute Thomas Maguire – who had previously drilled an effort wide – saw his cross from the right-hand side inadvertently turn into a shot that clipped the top of the woodwork.
However, the closest a breakthrough would come was on 72 minutes as Lyndon Kane saw his low drive from around 30 yards cannon off the upright as he received the ball while he was running forward from defence.
Towards the end, Coleraine were awarded a free kick as McKendry was fouled by Levi Ives right on the edge of the penalty area. Conor had a shot from the free kick the ball went well over the woodwork.
In added time, Ives would then be dismissed as he was sent off as he received a second yellow as the Bannsiders were awarded a free kick on nearly the exact same spot just outside the box on the right wing.
The free kick was passed to Lyndon Kane who was stood about five yards outside the Larne box, Lyndon hit the ball low and hard, but it was defected on the way through to the path Michael McCrudden who tried to get a flick past the ‘keeper but Ferguson was there and caught the ball.
A point apiece as Coleraine are on the road next Friday night away to Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.
COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, D. Jarvis (Cole ’27 mins), Kelly, A. Jarvis, McKendry, McDaid (McCrudden ‘76 mins), Lynch, O’Mahony, Mitchell (Harkin ‘76 mins), Scott.
Subs Not Used: Donnelly (GK), Farren, Wallace, Doherty.
LARNE: Ferguson, Want (Omar ’50 mins), Farquhar, Thomson (Kearns ‘80 mins), Bonis (O’Neill ‘80 mins), Ives, Gordon, Millar, Glynn, Cosgrove (Maguire ’46 mins), Ryan (Westendorf ‘87 mins).
Subs Not Used: Dowling (GK), Sloan.
Referee: Raymond Crangle