IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine win to strengthen grip on third place

Coleraine's David Ogilby challenges Cliftonville's Aaron Haire.
Coleraine's David Ogilby challenges Cliftonville's Aaron Haire.
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Coleraine 2 Cliftonville 0

A double from Darren McCauley helped Coleraine move five points clear of fourth placed Cliftonville in the table.

McCauley produced two excellent finishes in the second half to strengthen the home side's push for European football.

The Bannsiders' semi final hero James McLaughlin came into the starting line up to partner Eoin Bradley up top.

Cliftonville came into the game with only one win in their last six games, but they hadn't conceded a goal in their previous three encounters with Coleraine this season, and so far they are the only side to leave The Showgrounds with all three points.

The Bannsiders should have taken the lead on 16 minutes when Davy Kee's corner was missed by everyone including the unmarked Adam Mullan at the back post as the ball flew across the face of goal.

Chris Johns was alert to smother the ball at the second attempt five minutes later after Chris Curran had tested him from the edge of the box.

The keeper was left helpless on 27 minutes as Kym Nelson crashed a free kick off the underside of the bar.

Coleraine responded wasting a great opportunity for themselves ten minutes before the break as Kee shot tamely at Jason Mooney from six yards after Bradley's free kick fell invitingly for him.

The big keeper did well on 41 minutes to push away Bradley's powerful effort after some good build up play from the hosts.

The deadlock was finally broken six minutes into the second half as McCauley fired in from 10 yards after Cliftonville failed to deal with Harkin's centre.

Coleraine had a let off on the hour mark after Johns spilled Stephen Garrett's shot, Steven Douglas hacked the ball away, but only as far as Jay Donnelly, whose effort was blocked away for a corner.

At the other end Mooney produced a fantastic save to deny the onrushing Bradley two minutes later.

There was nothing Mooney could do to deny the home side doubling their advantage on 72 minutes. Adam Mullan slipped a inch perfect pass into the path of the onrushing McCauley, who lashed the ball into the top corner.

Coleraine were rampant now with Harkin testing Mooney, who produced a good save to palm the ball around the corner on 78 minutes.

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Douglas, Ogilby, Harkin, McCauley, McLaughlin, Kee, McGonigle, Bradley (Allan 82).

Subs: McCafferty, McConaghie, Edgar, Doherty.

Cliftonville: Mooney, McGovern, McGuinness, Curran, Garrett, Winchester (Lavery 61), Donnelly, Cosgrove, Finnegan, Nelson, Haire (Reynolds 73).

Subs: Burke, Bonner, M Donnelly.

Referee: Steven Taylor