Matchday Guide

Matchday Guide: Linfield

COLERAINE make the journey to face title contenders Linfield this evening as Conor McKendry returns from suspension (KO 7:45pm)…

Sports Direct Premiership


The Bannsiders picked up all three points last Saturday as Matthew Shevlin’s brace earned Coleraine a 2-1 win over Glentoran at The Showgrounds. The fixture allowed Oran Kearney to give a league debut to midfielder Aidan Tejada, who had to be cruelly substituted early in the first-half with a knock. The Stripes will welcome back Conor McKendry back from suspension, although Stephen Lowry must sit-out one more game following his dismissal against Dungannon Swifts.

Linfield went top-of-the-table for a matter of hours last weekend as a late header from Daniel Finlayson sealed a dramatic 2-1 win away at Crusaders. However, they were dislodged at the summit by Larne after their heavy win against Cliftonville at Inver Park. David Healy’s side have already lifted the BetMcLean Cup this term and will face Cliftonville in the Irish Cup final next month.

Previous Meetings:

Linfield would earn all three points in the first meeting between the two sides this season with a 3-1 win at The Showgrounds. The Stripes would fall behind in the first-half as Kyle McClean found the bottom corner from a quick throw-in, with Coleraine going close at the other end as Matthew Shevlin steered wide from Conor McKendry’s cross. Coleraine would draw level on 53 minutes as Jamie Glackin bundled the ball into the net from David McDaid’s cross, however, Linfield would go ahead again as Chris Shields netted from the spot after Lyndon Kane was adjudged to have fouled McClean. The victory was secured for the visitors on 72 minutes as Joel Cooper unselfishly squared the ball for Chris McKee to convert, with McKendry blocking a certain fourth for the Blues to deny Cooper on the goal line.

Just before Christmas, the Stripes would be the visitors to Windsor Park as both teams cancelled each other out in the opening 45 minutes. However, the hosts would take the lead on 66 minutes as a corner-kick delivery was glanced into the back of the net by Euan East. Four minutes later and the advantage was doubled from yet another corner-kick. Matthew Clarke would be the provider for the second time as the ball somehow landed to Rhys Annett less than two yards out who converted. On 86 minutes, Coleraine halved the arrears as a delivery into the box by Jamie Glackin was stabbed home at the back post by substitute Andy Mitchell but Linfield held on for a 2-1 success.

However, Coleraine would get their revenge in February courtesy of a 3-0 win against the Blues at The Showgrounds. The visitors would have the majority of the chances in the first-half as Darragh McBrien, Kyle McClean and Ethan McGee all went close for David Healy’s side. After Conor McKendry would hit the post, the Stripes would take the lead on 65 minutes as Matthew Shevlin headed in from Jamie Glackin’s corner-kick. Ten minutes later, Coleraine would double their advantage as good football resulted in Lyndon Kane’s cross being turned into the net by Jamie McGonigle for his third goal in as many games. A third goal of the evening would arrive on 84 minutes as McKendry’s free-kick was glanced into the net by Aaron Jarvis.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“In the first-half last week, we didn’t chin the bar so it was important we went out on Saturday and got another big performance,” Kearney said.

“We had to hurt on Saturday as there was a period of 10 to 15 minutes in both the first and second-half but we dug in and those are all qualities we’re going to need moving forward.

“It’s important to have all of that so big credit to the players.

“We’ve got three or four cracking players but plenty more.

“But we have three or four who have had the privilege to train with us all season, with Aidan Tejada being one of them.

“His development over the course of the season has been superb.

“With the league how it is and the season that’s it’s been, it makes it very, very hard to throw in those young players without extra stress that’s needed.”


The match referee will be Christopher Morrison.

The assistant referees are Stephen Donaldson and Brian Wilson.

Ben McMaster has been appointed as the fourth official.


Coleraine supporters are reminded that tickets are not for sale online and can’t be purchased at Windsor Park. The Club Shop is open from 12pm to 5pm for fans to buy tickets 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).