COLERAINE welcome champions Larne to The Showgrounds this afternoon as the Bannsiders aim to recover from the midweek loss against Carrick Rangers (KO 3pm)…
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Coleraine come into the fixture after losing for the first time this season as they were beaten 2-0 by Carrick Rangers on Tuesday night. A deadly double of goals in the first-half from Kyle Cherry and David Cushley ultimately did the damage, with the Stripes also losing the services of Jamie Glackin for today’s game after being dismissed for a second bookable offence. Summer recruit Jake Wallace is available for selection after obtaining international clearance.
After drawing their opening game in an entertaining clash against Dungannon Swifts, today’s visitors have won back-to-back games against Glentoran and Ballymena United. Tiernan Lynch’s side kept all their goals in the midweek win versus the Sky Blues for the second-half as Lee Bonis, Andy Ryan and Leroy Millar all found the back of the net. Larne have been busy adding to their squad in the summer as Aidan Dowling (Blackburn Rovers), Craig Farquhar (Ballymena United), Levi Ives (Cliftonville), Ali Omar (Torquay United), Jaziel Orozco (Real Salt Lake – loan), Corey Smith (Dungannon Swifts) and Isaac Westendorf (Newcastle United) have all made the moves to Inver Park.
Coleraine and Larne squared off on four occasions last season; with Coleraine winning two, drawing one and losing one.
At the start of October as the Bannsiders lost for a second successive fixture. After missing a guilt-edged chance to take the lead through Jamie Glackin’s close range effort, the Stripes would fall behind as Leroy Millar got his head onto a long ball to nod past Martin Gallagher. Both teams would see chances come and go at either end but a decisive second would arrive from the boot of Paul O’Neill to seal all three points for the hosts.
However, would Coleraine would enact some revenge at the same venue just a month later after recording a 2-0 win. The Stripes would take the lead after just four minutes on the clock as a delivery into the box by Conor McKendry was headed into the net by Matthew Shevlin. On the half hour mark, Coleraine would have Gareth Deane to thank as the stopper made a great save to tip Lee Bonis’ well driven effort over the crossbar. After Shevlin would see a one-on-one opportunity come and go, the Bannsiders would double their advantage in first-half stoppage time as McKendry played a neat one-two before lashing an effort beyond the reach of Rohan Ferguson. Oran Kearney’s men would have the first two chances after the break as McKendry and Shevlin both went close, whilst at the other end, Deane would have to dive to his right to keep out Ben Doherty’s free-kick.
At the end of March, the Stripes would pick up a point for their efforts after the goalless stalemate at The Showgrounds. Coleraine would have the majority of the chances in the first-half as Aaron Jarvis, Dean Jarvis and Conor McKendry all went close, whilst at the other end, Gareth Deane dived to keep out Andy Ryan’s attempt. However, the game would turn on 65 minutes as Aaron Jarvis received a straight red card for an off the ball incident involving Micheal Glynn. With the man advantage, Larne would turn the screw and Deane would be busy late on as he expertly tipped over Joe Thomson’s goal bound effort, before producing a remarkable double save to deny Thomas Maguire in stoppage time.
The final meeting saw already crowned champions Larne visit the Ballycastle Road on the final day of the Premiership season. The Inver Reds would have the best chances in the first-half as Lee Bonis headed into the gloves of Martin Gallagher, before the same player would be denied by the stopper yet again from Thomas Maguire’s cut back. However, the deadlock would be broken on 51 minutes as a cross into the box by Josh Carson wasn’t cleared and Shevlin pounced to blast the ball into the net. Just after the hour mark, Coleraine would stretch their lead further as a delivery from Lynch picked out Shevlin who was in space and he converted his second of the evening and his 28th goal of the campaign. After Gallagher made a smart save to deny Paul O’Neill, the Bannsiders added a third in stoppage time as Michael McCrudden slipped through Glackin and he duly converted with a cool finish.
“I’m not even looking a reaction to be honest because there’s a level when you play for Coleraine and there’s a level of expectation, there’s a level of attitude and application and everything that’s on the pitch,” he said.
“We don’t want reactions – we want that level of application the whole time.
“In simple terms, all I want on Saturday is that we go back to the Coleraine that played against Loughgall and the Coleraine that played against Ballymena and the Coleraine that’s been the Coleraine for quite a period of time.
“Tuesday night for me is an anomaly.
“I’ve got to be fair to the players and say they’re only human and it’s very rare I stand out here and have to have a conversation like this.
“I’ll not need to say anything to the lads on Saturday.
“I fully expect that we’ll get right back on it on Saturday again.”
The match referee will be Raymond Crangle.
The assistant referees are Shane Geary and Bogdan Sfirloaga.
Shane Andrews has been selected as the fourth official.
The match sponsor is Lynas Foodservice
Fernmount B&B in Armoy and Aspire Media N.I. CIC have kindly agreed to sponsor the match ball.
The mascots this afternoon are Teddy, Luca, Bethany.
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.
Larne fans will need tickets to enter the stadium which can be purchased HERE.
The Social Club will be open from 11:30am – with drink promotions on offer from 1:30pm until kick-off and then one hour after the full-time whistle.
Due to a large crowd expected at The Showgrounds, we encourage both sets of supporters to arrive at the ground in good time HERE.
As ever, those unable to watch the fixture can follow the latest developments via the club’s official Twitter account (@ColeraineFC).