Colin Coates’ late strike gives Crusaders a point against Cliftonville

Crusaders Colin Coates  in action with Cliftonvilles Liam Boyce

Crusaders Colin Coates in action with Cliftonvilles Liam Boyce

  • by Alex Mills at Seaview


Crusaders skipper Colin Coates salvaged a point for Crusaders with a last gasp equaliser against Cliftonville in this North Belfast derby at Seaview.

The 28 year old struck on 93 minutes, striker home the equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game.

Earlier Coates was the villain, having missed a 50th minute penalty kick.

And just to rub salt into the Crues wounds, Liam Boyce fired title holders into the lead four minutes later, superbly converting a spot kick.

But Cliftonville will be kicking themselves for letting this slip right at the finish.

Crusaders, urged on by EBU and IBF Inter-Continental Boxling champion, Carl Frampton, were first to threaten when midfielder Chris Morrow whipped in a left wing cross only to see Jordan Owens’ header saved by Conor Devlin,

Minutes later, Morrow was again the provider, but again Devlin was equal to Owens’ header, saving under the crossbar.

Cliftonville at last burst to life on 26 minutes when Liam Boyce tricked his way past Paul Leeman, but he could only pull his shot across the face of the goal.

And, moments later, Boyce tip-toed his way into the box and just as he was about to pull the trigger, Leeman came to the Crues rescue with a desperate clearance.

With the clock ticking down, Josh Robinson held his head in frustration after watching his fiercely struck 25-yard drive deflected inches wide with Devlin seemingly beaten.

The Crues missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock when Heatley skipped past Martin Murray and Marc Smyth before he was hauled down from a desperate challenge from Barry Johnston.

Coates stepped up to shamefully blast the spot kick over the crossbar and high into the back of the grandstand.

The game exploded for all the wrong reasons seconds later when Murray and Craig McClean right in front of dugouts -- both players were booked for their part in the incident.

Referee Hunter then sent the sell-out Cliftonville wild with delighted by awarding a penalty kick after Murray buckled under a tackle from Davy Magowan.

Boyce stepped up to spectacularly send O’Neill the wrong way from the spot.

The Reds almost struck again when Murray’s rasping drive arrowed inches past the post with Sean O’Neill totally beaten.

Crusaders came back off the ropes and almost levelled on 71 minutes. Robinson’s pass was cleverly dummied by substitute Gary McCutcheon, leaving Declan Caddell in the clear, but his shot curled past the post.

Substitute Diarmud O’Carroll almost hit second in injury time, cutting in from the left only to see O’Neill beat away his shot with his legs

But Coates popped up in injury time to salvage a point for the Crues, somehow screwing the ball into the bottom corner, beyond the grasp of Devlin.

Crusaders: O’Neill, Leeman, Magowan, Coates, E McAllister (McCutcheon 64), Morrow (D McAllister 76), Robinson, Caddell, McClean, Owens, Heatley.

Subs:McMaster, Snoddy, Cleary.

Booked: Coates 46, McClean 52, owens 78, Robinson 78

Cliftonville: Devlin, McGovern, Scannell, Johston, Donnelly (Cosgrove 89), Seydak, S,yth, Cathey, Gormley, Murray (O’Carroll 88), Boyce.

Subs: McNally, McMullan, Doherty.

Booked: Scannell 39, Murray 52, Smyth 78.

Scorer: Boyce pen 54.

Referee: A Hunter (Maguiresbridge).


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