COLERAINE complete a busy six days as they welcome Crusaders to The Showgrounds this evening…
Danske Bank Premiership
Coleraine made it three successive wins in all competitions on Tuesday night as they reached their third successive BetMcLean Cup final following a penalty shoot-out win against Cliftonville. The Stripes fell behind twice but levelled on both occasions through Matthew Shevlin with Odhran Casey’s miss from 12 yards sending Coleraine through to face Linfield in March next year. Oran Kearney’s men are currently 6th in the Premiership ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures.
Crusaders have won two and drawn one out of their last three fixtures which included last weekend’s 3-2 victory against Glentoran at Seaview. A brace from Chris Hegarty and Adam Lecky’s header sealed the success for Stephen Baxter’s side who are now second in the Premiership table. The north Belfast side have been drawn at home to Dergview in the fifth round of the Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup.
After the first game between the two sides was postponed due to the sad passing of the Queen, the Bannsiders welcomed Crusaders to The Showgrounds last month. The hosts would make a poor start as McCauley Snelgrove blasted an effort into the bottom corner after just 47 seconds. To make matters worse, Coleraine would concede a second after 14 minutes on the clock when Adam Lecky burst into the box and cut the ball back for Jude Winchester. The midfielder had the precision to find Philip Lowry inside the area and he picked his spot beyond a helpless Gareth Deane. The Stripes needed a response before the break and it arrived in fortunate circumstances on 39 minutes as corner kick by Lynch was headed towards goal by Stephen O’Donnell, with the ball taking several deflections before finding the back of the net. On 66 minutes, Coleraine would have another opportunity as substitute Evan McLaughlin teed the ball up for Shevlin at the edge of the box but his low drive was parried by Tuffey and cleared to safety. Oran Kearney brought on James McLaughlin with 15 minutes to go and the striker almost made an instant impact as his half volley forced Tuffey into a low smart save as Crusaders held out for a 2-1 victory.
“There was a lot of energy used against Cliftonville,” Kearney said.
“It’s well documented when teams have a three game week, for us it’s a six day week, and the other team doesn’t have a game it makes it tremendously hard.
“Add to that an extra 30 minutes it’s not going to make tonight’s task easy.
“But what there is in fatigue in that changing room there’s a massive injection of adrenaline and ideally we’ve go to tap into that and hit the ground running with all that adrenaline.”
The match referee will be Evan Boyce.
The assistant referees are Stephen Bell and George Argyropoulos.
Tony Clarke has been selected as the fourth official.
The match sponsor is J. Calvin T/A W. Mitchell Car Body Repairs.
James Stewart has kindly agreed to sponsor the match ball.
The mascots this evening are Cillian, Yvan and Lottie.
The Man of the Match award will be sponsored by Holley Optometrists.
Season tickets are valid for the fixture, although, non-season ticket holders will require matchday tickets for the fixture which can be bought online HERE.
Crusaders fans will also need tickets to enter the stadium which can be purchased HERE.
Both sets of supporters are kindly asked to read the following matchday arrangements HERE.
The match will be broadcast live on BBC Two NI and available on the Red Button.
If you are not feeling yourself this evening and you have symptoms which you feel are similar to COVID-19, please stay away from the stadium and think of others.
As ever, those unable to watch the fixture can follow the latest developments via the club’s official Twitter account (@ColeraineFC).