IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine cruise past Cliftonville

Coleraine's Rodney Brown 
and Cliftonville's Jay Donnelly

Coleraine's Rodney Brown and Cliftonville's Jay Donnelly

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COLERAINE 3 CLIFTONVILLE 0

Coleraine warmed up for their Europa League play-off tie with Glentoran on Friday night with a convincing win over Cliftonville.

Brad Lyons put the Bannsiders in front in the first half with Neil McCafferty firing in a brace from the spot in the second half to give Oran Kearney’s men a deserved win.

The hosts made a number of changes with skipper Howard Beverland and Ruaidhri Higgins on the bench with next week’s Europa League Play-off in mind.

Beverland only had his seat for 18 minutes though as he was called into action following an injury to the unfortunate David Ogilby.

Up to that point chances had been at a premium Ruairi Harkin and James Knowles had long distance efforts at both ends, which sailed high, wide and not so handsome.

Neil McCafferty went closer on eight minutes forcing Conor Devlin into a smart save.

Sammy Morrow also went close on 20 minutes after picking the ball up outside the box, but he curled his shot just wide of the upright.

Six minutes later Rodney Brown glanced a header across the face of goal for the Bannsiders.

The Bannsiders broke the deadlock on 40 minutes after some good hold up play by Morrow. He slipped a pass to Brad Lyons, who colly slotted past Devlin.

It should have been 2-0 at the break, but Parkhill’s effort was blocked by Devlin.

Coleraine should have went into the break 2-0 up after Morrow played in Parkhill, but Devlin was out quickly to block.

The home side carried on where they had left off after half time as Morrow had Devlin scrambling.

At the other end Cliftonville finally had a shot on target as sub Darren Murray deflected Stephen Garrett’s cross goalwards, but Johns saved well.

Coleraine made it 2-0 on 54 minutes as McCafferty slotted home from the spot after Harkin had been brought down.

The Reds had their own appeal for a penalty waved away minutes later as Garrett raced clear and clashed with Johns, the referee was unmoved though.

Caoimhin Bonner had a let off of his own on 68 minutes as Parkhill raced clear the defender pulled him down, ref Tim Marshall only produced a yellow though despite the front man bearing down on goal.

Bonner’s day went from bad to worse as he saw red with a minute to go after handling Brown’s header in the box.

McCafferty stepped up again and it was the same outcome as before.

Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Brown, Douglas, Ogilby (Beverland 18), McCafferty, Harkin (Higgins 61), McCauley, Lyons (McGonigle 83), Parkhill, Morrow.

Subs: Watt, Law.

Goals: Lyons (40), McCafferty (54, 89)

Cliftonville: Devlin, McGovern, Ives, Bonner, Flynn, Knowles, Curran (Murray 46), Garrett, M Donnelly (McDaid 67), Catney (Lavery 61), J Donnelly.

Subs: McDaid, Brennan, Morgan.

Red Card: Bonner (89)

Referee: Tim Marshall