COLERAINE are in midweek action for the first time this season as they face Carrick Rangers at the Loughview Leisure Arena this evening (KO 7:45pm)…
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The Bannsiders made it two wins from two in the Premiership last Friday night as they had to once again come from behind to earn all three points. After Andrew Hoey struck the opener for the hosts, Coleraine quickly responded through Conor McKendry’s effort before Andy Mitchell got on the scoresheet before the break. There would be no goals in the second-half albeit Coleraine missed a penalty through Dean Jarvis. Oran Kearney was able to hand a debut to Lee Harkin (McLaughlin) following his summer move to The Showgrounds.
The Amber Army had to wait an extra week to get their campaign up and running due to Crusaders’ participation in Europe but they would make a losing start. Stuart King’s side lost at home to Newry City as Lorcan Forde and Darragh Owens netted the decisive goals for the visitors. Carrick have been busy adding to their squad in the summer as Joe Crowe (Glentoran), Ben McCauley (PSNI), Andrew Mitchell (Larne), Danny Purkis (Glentoran) and Albert Watson (Larne) have all joined the club.
The two clubs would meet three times last season in the Premiership as Kearney’s men took all nine points from those encounters.
The first fixture would take place at the Loughview Leisure Arena in August. After Carrick started the brightest, it would be Coleraine who would take a 19th minute lead as Lee Lynch crossed for Matthew Shevlin who headed into the net despite the best efforts of Ben Tilney to clear the ball off the line. Both teams would continue to create half chances at the Loughview Leisure Arena but once again Coleraine would pounce as Evan McLaughlin released the run of Shevlin who comfortably rounded Ross Glendinning to tap the ball into an empty net. However, the Amber Army would half the deficit before the break as referee Raymond Crangle pointed to the spot after Cameron Stewart was adjudged to have been fouled inside the box. The spot kick would be taken by David Cushley who sent Marty Gallagher the wrong way. After Stewart went inches away from levelling matters, the Stripes would regain their two goal lead as Kieran Farren’s header from Josh Carson’s free-kick went into the path of Shevlin who completed his hat-trick. With less than two minutes remaining, the Stripes would add a fourth as Jamie Glackin was in the right place at the right time to divert Aaron Jarvis’ cross into the net, with Carrick pulling a consolation goal back in added time as Allen arrowed a fine strike into the far corner.
Coleraine would return to east Antrim for a second time in November and left with all three points via Josh Carson’s late winner. On 19 minutes, the hosts would threaten as persistence from David Cushley presented the ball to Lloyd Anderson inside the box and he fired over from close range. Soon after, the ball would hit the back of the net as Cameron Stewart headed in from a corner, but thankfully for Coleraine, the goal was disallowed for an infringement in the box. On the stroke of half-time, the Bannsiders had Gareth Deane to thank as the stopper somehow tipped Kyle Cherry’s shot over the bar. Oran Kearney’s men were much improved after the break and threatened on several occasions as Josh Carson, Conor McDermott, Adam Mullan and Lee Lynch all went close to finding the back of the net. However, the breakthrough would arrive on 82 minutes as a ball forward wasn’t dealt with by the Carrick defence and Carson’s turn and shot found the top corner.
The last clash was at The Showgrounds in January this year and once again it would prove to be a tight game as only one goal settled matters. The Stripes would start the contest well and had two chances inside the first ten minutes as Shevlin headed into the body of Ross Glendinning from close range, before McKendry sent crisp effort wide from 20 yards. However, Oran Kearney’s men would receive a blow just before the hour mark as Jamie Glackin was dismissed for a tackle, with Carrick almost making the numerical advantage count straight away as David Cushley flashed a guilt-edged chance wide. Just after Dean Jarvis almost teed up Shevlin and Andy Scott, the Bannsiders would be awarded a penalty kick as Shevlin was fouled inside the area by Ronan Kalla. A confident Shevlin sent Glendinning the wrong way to make it 22 goals for the campaign. The lead would be severely tested with little more than ten minutes remaining as Nedas Maciulaitis laid the ball on a plate for Lloyd Anderson who was somehow denied by a world-class save from Marty Gallagher.
“I’m fed up saying it but there are no easy games in this league and Loughgall proved that,” Kearney said.
“Any game we’ve had with Carrick ever has always been a tough game and I don’t Tuesday night to be any different.
“They’ve strengthened superbly in the summer.
“They will be trying to better the season they had last year.
“With the players they have and the size of their squad now you’ve got to say that’s achievable.”
The match referee will be Shane Andrews.
The assistant referees are Adam Jeffrey and Bogdan Sfirloaga.
Raymond Crangle has been selected as the fourth official.
Coleraine supporters can buy tickets for the fixture HERE.
A cash gate will also be in operation, however, buying tickets is the preferred option.
We would urge supporters to arrive at the ground in good time and respect residents in terms of parking your vehicle.
As ever, those unable to watch the fixture can follow the latest developments via the club’s official Twitter account (@ColeraineFC).