Matchday Guide

Matchday Guide: Crusaders

COLERAINE go in search of securing a top six berth in the Sports Direct Premiership as they are the visitors to Crusaders this afternoon (KO 3pm)…

Sports Direct Premiership


Coleraine made it three matches unbeaten in the Sports Direct Premiership after a 0-0 draw against league leaders Larne at The Showgrounds. The visitors would have the majority of the chances in the first-half as Andy Ryan went close on numerous occasions, with Coleraine threatening after the break as Conor McKendry, Jamie McGonigle and Matthew Shevlin all had sights at goal. The result means the Bannsiders remain sixth in the Premiership standings ahead of the post-split schedule.

Crusaders moved up to fourth in the table last weekend as they came from behind to beat Ballymena United at Warden Street. Stephen Baxter’s side had trailed 2-1 at the break but Ben Kennedy, Paul Heatley and Jarlath O’Rourke would net second half goals to leave with all three points. That result – coupled with Glentoran’s home defeat at Loughgall – meant the Crues moved up a position in the standings.

Previous Meetings:

The two teams met at the end of September at The Showgrounds in what would turn out to be a profitable day for the visitors. On 14 minutes, the Crues made it 1-0 through Philip Lowry as the midfielder saw his long-range strike nestle in the bottom corner following Adam Lecky’s cut back. As Coleraine made substitutions to get back into the contest, the Crues doubled their lead as Heatley headed the ball through to Ben Kennedy who ran through and calmly slotted the ball past Gallagher. The scoring would continue on 87 minutes as Lecky crossed the ball into the box that found the head of Daniel Larmour who converted from close range. The last action of the game action of match saw the Crues make it 4-0 through Jarlath O’Rourke with a strike just outside the box that flew into the top corner.

However, Coleraine would avenge that defeat by picking up all three points at Seaview in November. After a goalless first-half, Coleraine and Conor McKendry would make the breakthrough as Jamie Glackin and Andy Scott were heavily involved. The ball was worked to the in-form winger just inside the box and his near post drive fizzed into the bottom corner just ten minutes after the restart. Just before the hour mark, Andy Mitchell rolled his marker at the edge of the box and burst into penalty area but his low drive was tipped away by Johnny Tuffey. At the other end, the Stripes had Kieran Farren to thank as the big defender somehow headed the ball away from his own goal line as Paul Heatley looked certain to equalise. That intervention was even more important as the Bannsiders went further ahead on 77 minutes. A long ball forward by Dean Jarvis and was misjudged by Billy Joe Burns and latched on to by McKendry, who dribbled into the box and slotted the ball past Tuffey in the Crusaders net. On 84 minutes, McKendry almost went home with the match ball as his shot from an acute angle was palmed away by Tuffey, with Lee Lynch’s rebound being scrambled away on the line.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“It’s one of the toughest venues you can go to in this country,” said Kearney.

“We know what they’re all about and how good they are at home and away.

“They are littered with very good players but we’ve got to go and chin the bar again.

“The performance levels in the last month have been bang on for us and the big driver will be for the same next weekend.”


The match referee will be Evan Boyce.

The assistant referees are Stephen Bell and Gavin Hegarty.

Raymond Crangle has been appointed as the fourth official.


Coleraine supporters will require tickets for the contest which can be bought HERE.

We would urge supporters to arrive at the ground in good time and respect residents and businesses 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).