IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine see off Carrick

Jamie McGonigle gives Coleraine a two-goal cushion by tapping in from close range.
Jamie McGonigle gives Coleraine a two-goal cushion by tapping in from close range.

Carrick Rangers 1 Coleraine 3

Coleraine maintained their six point lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with a 3-1 over Carrick Rangers at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena.

Goals from Ciaron Harkin, Brad Lyons and Jamie McGonigle sealed the win for the Bannsiders, but they were made to work all the way for the points after Mark Edgar had levelled things up in the first half.

The visitors broke the deadlock inside three minutes after a sweeping move saw Martin Smith feed Lyons, whose lay off teed up Harkin on the edge of the box, and his first time effort flew past Harry Doherty into the bottom corner.

The lead lasted only nine minutes as Carrick drew themselves level thanks to a Coleraine old boy.

Martin Maybin was fouled on the edge of the box by David Ogilby and up stepped Edgar to curl home a delightful free kick past Chris Johns with 12 minutes gone.

The hosts went close to taking the lead on 16 minutes when Daniel Larmour beat John with a header from another Edgar free, but a spectacular goal line clearance by Aaron Traynor kept the sides level.

Back came Coleraine as they cut Carrick open on 19 minutes, Smith's pinpoint through ball releasing McGonigle, but his shot was blocked by Doherty.

The keeper produced an even better save to deny the front man again on half time after Denver Gage had missed Adam Mullan's cross. But Doherty reacted well to deflectMcGonigle's effort around the post .

The keeper was left helpless from the resulting corner though as Lyons rose highest to head in from McCauley's set piece.

Chris Johns produced a impressive double save eight minutes after the restart to keep his side's lead intact. First he parried Gavin Taggart's shot from distance, but he reacted well to get a strong hand to Maybin's follow up.

Lyons hit the woodwork on the hour mark after he picked up Edgar's clearance, and he also drove over from distance.

Lyons was instrumental in the Bannsiders' third goal on 72 minutes. His clever pass released Ian Parkhill, who slipped the ball past the onrushing Doherty to try and pick out McGonigle in the centre. He failed to convert under pressure from the defenders but Gage's attempted clearance struck Lyons before hitting the bar, the ball dropped nicely for McGonigle who slammed it into the net from close range.

Lyons struck the woodwork again before the end as he latched on to McCauley's centre.