COLERAINE 1 GLENTORAN 1
Coleraine and Glentoran played out another 1-1 draw as honours finished even at The Showgrounds.
The Bannsiders edged in front on three minutes as top scorer James McLaughlin lashed in his 20th of the season after Neil McCafferty’s initial effort was blocked.
The ball sat up nicely for the striker and his fiercely hit shot from the edge of the box gave Elliot Morris no chance.
Glentoran responded with Ciaran Caldwell twice drawing good saves out of Chris Johns inside the first 10 minutes.
The Bannsiders went agonisingly close to making it 2-0 on 23 minutes after Ruaidhri Higgins curled a sublime free kick into the danger area, but Jamie McGonigle failed to get the vital contact at the back post.
The Glens almost got back on level terms three minutes into the second half after they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box.
Former Coleraine man Curtis Allen stepped up but his curling effort cannoned off the foot of the post.
Allen went closer on the hour mark as he reacted quickest to force Johns into a great reaction save.
Johns produced another great stop to keep out another Allen free on 68 minutes, but he had his defence to thank for two follow up blocks to keep the visitors at bay.
Minutes later Allen crashed a left-foot shot off the bar after a clever dummy by Smyth from McCaffrey’s cut back teed him up.
James McLaughlin’s speculative effort from distance on 75 minutes had Morris scrambling as Coleraine had a rare break away.
Glenotran finally drew level on 77 minutes after Stephen Douglas was adjudged to have handled the ball. He saw red as referee produced a second yellow for the defender, and Jonathan Smyth slotted past Johns from 12 yards.
Right at the death Ian Parkhill picked out McGonigle at the back post, but his first time volley was superbly pushed away by Morris. And with seconds to go he got his fingertips to a Parkhill drive to earn his side a share of the spoils.
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Beverland, Douglas, Higgins, McCafferty (Watt 62), McCauley (Brown 33), McGonigle, McLaughlin, Morrow (Parkhill 75).
Subs: Doherty, Law.
Goal: McLaughlin (3)
Red Card: Douglas (77)
Glentoran: Morris, Holland, Kane, Magee, Addis, Morrow, Caldwell, McCullough (McCaffrey 59), Smyth, Allen, Scullion (Gordon 60).
Subs: Hogg, Birney, Nelson.
Goal: Smyth (77)
Referee: Mervyn Smyth.