Matthew Clarke double for Linfield sinks Coleraine

Linfield's Matthew Clarke celebrates scoring his second goal against Coleraine
Linfield's Matthew Clarke celebrates scoring his second goal against Coleraine


Linfield made it two Danske Bank Premiership victories in the space of four days with a 2-1 victory against Coleraine.

A classy double from Matthew Clarke sealed another away day victory for the Blues.

Clarke rifled home an unstoppable drive in the 54th minute, and dispatched a sublime free-kick in the 63rd.

Wedged in between was Coleraine’s reply from Neil McCafferty, courtesy of another classy set-piece.

The Bannsiders’ misery was compounded with Joe McNeill’s sending off in the 68th minute for a head-butt incident with Aaron Burns.

All three goals arrived after a scoreless opening half.

Linfield carved out the first opening in the sixth minute, but Peter Thompson couldn’t convert Warren Feeney’s low cross.

Thompson threatened again in the 12th minute after being played in by Ivan Sproule, but after cutting inside Howard Beverland the striker could only shoot straight at Eugene Ferry.

The visitors were forced into an early substitution one minute later when Jamie Mulgrew limped off - Kirk Millar the replacement.

At the other end Jonny Tuffey did well to tip Beverland’s header around the post in the 24th minute.

Tuffey was called into action in the 29th minute to save well from Ian Parkhill’s low shot from the edge of the box.

Michael Hegarty attempted a delicate lob in the 41st minute, but Tuffey was equal to it and gathered easily.

Linfield broke the deadlock in the 54th minute, and what a sublime finish it was from Clarke.

Sproule won possession before feeding Millar on the edge of the box.

And when Millar provided a deft back heel into the path of Clarke, the defender rifled an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Coleraine’s equaliser also came from the top drawer, McCafferty curling a superb 25-yard free-kick into the top corner after McNeill tumbled under a challenge.

Linfield regained the lead barely three minutes later with another stellar finish.

And it was Clarke again proving his class, curling a left-foot free-kick into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Coleraine were reduced to 10 men in the 68th minute - referee Ross Dunlop brandishing a straight red card to McNeill following what appeared to be a head-butt on Aaron Burns.

COLERAINE: Ferry, Canning, Beverland, Ogilby, Watt, McCafferty, Hegarty, McNeill, McGinty, Browne, Parkhill.

Subs not used: Findlay, Barton, Lyons, Moore, Mullan.

LINFIELD: Tuffey, Richards, Hegarty, Haughey, Lowry, Thompson, Sproule, Burns, M. Clarke, Feeney (Carvill 87), Mulgrew (Millar 13).

Subs not used: Glendinning, Quinn, R. Clarke.

Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)