Matchday Guide

Matchday Guide: Linfield

COLERAINE are at home for the penultimate time this season as they face Linfield on the Ballycastle Road this afternoon (KO 3pm)…

Danske Bank Premiership


The Bannsiders come into the fixture after losing 3-1 away to Crusaders on Tuesday night. The Bannsiders held a slender 1-0 at the break via Michael McCrudden’s penalty but they would leave empty handed as Jordan Forsythe netted twice, alongside Philip Lowry’s header for the Hatchetmen. Coleraine remain sixth in the Premiership standings and will be without both Aaron Jarvis and Dean Jarvis through suspension for today’s clash. However, Conor McKendry is back after sitting out Tuesday’s game with a one match ban.

Linfield were also in midweek action as a 1-1 draw at home to Glentoran ended their title defence as Larne were crowned champions last night. The Blues were leading 1-0 with a matter of minutes to go but Bobby Burns snatched a late leveller for the Glens. David Healy’s side currently sit second in the league and will hope to finish there to earn automatic European qualification next season.

Previous meetings:

It would be a case of the defences at The Showgrounds as neither side went close to breaking the deadlock at The Showgrounds back in October. In front of a full capacity, the first chance would fall at the feet of Conor McDermott but the full-back’s strike was easily gathered by Chris Johns. After Joel Cooper flashed a free-kick inches wide, the Blues would spurn the chance of the game on the stroke of half-time as Stephen Fallon headed over from Kirk Millar’s cross. With less than a minute of the second-half played, Coleraine would threaten as Josh Carson’s free-kick forced Johns into a save before Jamie Glackin failed to find the target from 25 yards. The final opportunity of the contest would be created by Linfield as Cooper teed up Fallon but his effort fizzed wide.

Similarly, the two teams would start 2023 with a goalless draw at Windsor Park. Linfield would have all the opportunities in the first-half as Eetu Vertainen headed wide from Jamie Mulgrew’s cross, with Martin Gallagher called into action to tip Daniel Finalyson’s header over the bar soon after. The final chance of the opening 45 minutes would land at the boot of Joel Cooper but the winger’s attempt was comfortably saved by Gallagher. David Healy’s men would go close on 53 minutes as Vertainen once again saw a header go off target, with the Finnish striker being frustrated later on as he was denied by Gallagher with a smart save. Coleraine – who had plenty of possession but lacked a killer pass – would create the final two chances of the game as debutant Eamon Fyfe hit a free-kick straight into the gloves of Chris Johns, before the same player would see a shot on the turn go over the crossbar.

At the end of February, Coleraine would visit Windsor Park once again in Danske Bank Premiership duty. The hosts would be awarded a penalty on 13 minutes as Dean Jarvis was adjudged to have handled inside the box, allowing Chris Shields to keep his composure to send Gareth Deane the wrong way from 12 yards. Just after Daniel Finlayson headed wide, the Stripes would end the half strongly as Chris Johns made a sublime save to deny Jamie Glackin after he was picked out by Jack O’Mahony. Linfield would go further ahead on 50 minutes as Matthew Clarke was denied by a superb stop by Deane, however, the ball would land at Eetu Vertainen who had the simple task of finding the back of the net. It wasn’t to be Finlayson’s day as the defender smashed the woodwork with a header, with Coleraine threatening late on through Michael McCrudden.

The two teams would also meet in the final of the BetMcLean League Cup as the Bannsiders lost a second successive decider in the competition. After a goalless first-half – which the Stripes shaded – they would fall behind early in the second-half as Joel Cooper found the bottom corner after being picked out by Chris McKee. A few minutes later, the Blues would double their tally from the spot as Chris Shields kept his composure from 12 yards after McKee had been brought down inside the box. In truth, Coleraine never really looked like getting back into the game as they lost 2-0 at Windsor Park.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“I don’t care about whether Linfield in title race when they come to us as we’ve three games to get ready for a European play-off,” Kearney said.

“We had a few suspensions against Crusaders and a few aches and pains as well.

“We’ve got to manage bodies.

“I’ve said it before but we want to be going into those play-offs on the back of good performances and a bit in the tank.

“Friday night was really good and against Crusaders for the first 45 was really good as well.

“The goal hurt us and we didn’t get the response we wanted.”


The match referee will be Lee Tavinder.

The assistant referees are Gavin Hegarty and Bogdan Sfirloaga.

Declan Hassan has been selected as the fourth official.


The match sponsor is JW Service Centre.

Rohan Richardson, Clem Howard and KTA Turkish Barbers have kindly agreed to sponsor the match ball.

The mascots this afternoon are Jamie, Jessica, Will, Cassie, Ollie, Harry and Lacey.

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.

Linfield fans will 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.

If you are not feeling yourself this afternoon 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).