IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine march on with win over Ballymena

Tempers flare during todays game at Warden Street in Ballymena. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
Tempers flare during todays game at Warden Street in Ballymena. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

Ballymena United 0 Coleraine 2

Coleraine extended their lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership following their 2-0 win over Ballymena United at Warden Street.

Goals in either half from Stephen O'Donnell and Jamie McGonigle sealed the win for the Bannsiders to move four points clear of Linfield at the top.

There was a frantic start to the game with both sides going close to opening the scoring inside the first two minutes.

Conor Brennan looked less than convincing as he dropped a high ball after colliding with Michael Gault, by the Sky Blues managed to clear the danger.

At the other end Jonny Flynn had a shot cleared off the line by Darren McCauley following a corner, before Cathair Friel was crowded out as he tried to turn home the rebound.

Jamie McGonigle had a free kick saved on nine minutes before another long throw into the Coleraine box caused confusion as the ball pinged around the face of goal.

Brad Lyons called Brennan into a low save from a free kick on 20 minutes.

Coleraine had a big shout for a penalty seven minutes later as Stephen O'Donnell's long ball forward sent Eoin Bradley racing clear, but just as he was about to get a shot away he seemed to be hauled down by Gault, referee Andrew Davey waved play on though.

The deadlock was broken on 32 minutes. Darren McCauley's free kick into the box was inadvertently flicked on by Jim Ervin into the path of the unmarked O'Donnell who headed past Brennan.

It was the big defender's third goal of the season, and they have all come away from home.

Right at the death another high ball into the Bannsiders' box wasn't dealt with, Tony Kane reacted quickest to the loose ball, but he headed over the bar.

The hosts started the second half strongly, Leroy Millar curling a free kick over the from the edge of the box on 48 minutes.

It was Coleraine though who scored again on 57 minutes. McCauley's free kick was headed on by O'Donnell, the ball squirmed its way to McGonigle, who fired low past Brennan.

The keeper was called into action on 69 minutes as McGonigle clever through ball released Bradley, but his low shot was parried away by Brennan.

Coleraine almost grabbed a third with four minutes to go as Ogilby got a flick on McCauley's corner, but Kane was there to hack it off the line.