COLERAINE and Larne would meet for a third successive year in the Irish Cup with another classic unfolding at Inver Park…
Friday, February 28, 2020
Larne 2-3 Coleraine
Goals – Kane own goal (’44 mins), Hughes (’64 mins); McLaughlin (’55 mins), Lowry (’70 mins), Bradley (’87 mins)
COLERAINE booked their place in the semi-final of the Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup following an enthralling 3-2 victory against Larne at Inver Park.
Oran Kearney’s side trailed twice in the match but managed to progress thanks to strikes from James McLaughlin, Stephen Lowry and Eoin Bradley.
The Bannsiders made just one change from the team that defeated Institute in the last league outing as Aaron Traynor replaced Stewart Nixon who was cup-tied.
The home side settled well and were unlucky not to grab the lead inside the opening five minutes as Martin Donnelly called Chris Johns into action with the goalkeeper making the save at the second attempt.
The former Crusaders man was involved moments later as his effort from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection before crashing off the crossbar. However, Coleraine regrouped and eventually hooked the ball away from the danger zone.
Former Coleraine striker Davy McDaid looked lively in the first half as he was at the heart of everything good about Larne but he was unable to fire his team in front.
The home side were rampant as Coleraine failed to find their feet under the floodlights. Tiernan Lynch’s men enjoyed other chance early doors as Fuad Sule picked the ball up on the edge of the box. The midfielder picked his spot but he was unable to test Johns in the Coleraine goal.
The waves of pressure from Larne continued as Harry Flowers and Albert Watson threatened from an expertly delivered Donnelly set-piece but to no avail.
Oran Kearney introduced Eoin Bradley on 37 minutes as the visitors look to find an answer for Larne’s flowing football. Bradley was in the midst of the action straight away as he was fouled on the edge of the area by Watson. The striker, who has missed out in recent weeks due to a hamstring injury, struck the set-piece but Devlin made a great save.
From the resulting corner, the ball broke to Stephen Lowry at the edge of the box. He thundered a low effort towards goal but his attempt was well blocked.
Dean Jarvis and Harry Flowers threatened for the home side but they were also left frustrated.
Larne’s persistent approach paid dividends before the interval as they grabbed the lead. A dangerous cross from a free-kick seemed to find the head of Jeff Hughes. His attempt deflected off Lyndon Kane before trickling into the bottom corner.
At the break, Coleraine were lucky not to be further behind following the unrelenting pressure from the home side in the opening 45 minutes, whilst Tiernan Lynch would have been calling for more of the same from his side in the second half.
The Bannsiders opted for change at the break as Aaron Jarvis replaced Aaron Traynor which meant captain Stephen O’Donnell resumed a more familiar role in the heart of the defence.
Martin Donnelly was the thorn in Coleraine’s side for most of the game and he almost doubled the Inver men’s lead on 51 minutes. Moments later, McDaid threatened but Aaron Canning thwarted he danger and turned the ball behind for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Albert Watson flashed an effort towards goal but to no avail.
Coleraine grabbed a lifeline via James McLaughlin in the second half. The striker latched on to Bradley’s knockdown before drilling a volley low into the bottom corner to level the tie.
All of a sudden Larne looked edgy, however, Jeff Hughes restored the home side’s lead as he was allowed to roam to the back post unmarked from a free-kick and nod home.
The Bannsiders’ never say die attitude prevailed midway through the second half as Stephen Lowry slammed home a penalty following a handball by John Herron.
By this stage, it was end to end stuff as both teams wanted to win it. Donnelly fired over for Larne before Bradley released Lyndon Kane but his effort was well saved by Devlin.
Right at the death, Coleraine showed their true character as Jamie Glackin flicked the ball on to Eoin Bradley and the striker cooly slotted the ball home to ensure the win for Oran Kearney’s side.
LARNE: Devlin, Flowers, Watson, Sule (A. Mitchell ’78 mins), McDaid, Donnelly, Lynch, Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis, Herron.
Subs Not Used: C. Mitchell (GK), Kelly, Randall, Ramsey, Tilney, Andrade.
COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Canning, Lowry, McLaughlin, Carson, O’Donnell, Parkhill (Bradley ’37 mins), Glackin, Traynor (Jarvis ’46 mins).
Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Douglas, McConaghie, McGuckin, Allen.