IRISH LEAGUE: McLaughlin earns Coleraine a point against Linfield
Coleraine 1 Linfield 1
James McLaughlin came off the bench to grab Coleraine a share of the spoils at home to Linfield.
The big striker was only on the pitch when he headed home Rodney Brown’s cross with his first touch of the game and maintain the Bannsiders unbeaten home run.
It cancelled out Andy Waterworth’s first half header which had given David Healy’s side the lead at the break.
Brad Lyons took the game to Linfield early on testing Roy Carroll with a low shot with 30 seconds gone.
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The visitors suffered a blow two minutes later as Paul Smyth had to leave the field following a tackle by Gareth McConachie, who picked up a yellow card for the challenge.
Jamie McGonigle also drew a decent save out of Carroll on 12 minutes, but it was the Blues who edged in front on 17 minutes after a mistake by Neil McCafferty.
He gave the ball away to Kirk Millar, who whipped a great ball into the box, which was gleefully headed home by Andy Waterworth for his fourth of the season.
The Bannsiders thought they had drawn level on 39 minutes as Lyons got on the end of McCafferty’s corner, but it cannoned off the underside of the bar and was hooked away to safety.
Two minutes later it was Linfield’s turn to rattle the woodwork as Mulgrew found space outside the box before unleashing a great shot which crashed off the angle of post and bar.
Into the second half and nine minutes after the restart McLaughlin entered the fray before levelling things up seconds later.
He glanced home Brown’s cross from the left as Carroll watched on helplessly.
The Blues almost got their noses in front again with 17 minutes to go as Millar’s corner was missed by everyone before deflecting off Aaron Burns at the back post, unfortunately for him it bounced the wrong side of the post with the goal gaping.
Back came the Bannsiders and it was that man McLaughlin again as he exchanged passes with Jordan Allan before curling a shot just wide of the target on 78 minutes.
McLaughlin did manage to have the ball in the net again before the end, but his header was ruled out for a foul on Carroll with seven minutes to go.
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan (McLaughlin 52), Douglas, McConachie (Ogilby 64), McCauley, McCafferty, Brown, Lyons, Parkhill (Allan 76), McGonigle.
Subs: Higgins, Morrow.
Goal: McLaughlin (54)
Linfield: Carroll, Clingan, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth, Millar (Carson 74), Clarke, Mulgrew, Casement, Gaynor (Frazer 84), Smyth (Burns 9).
Subs: Ward, Quinn.
Goal: Waterworth (17)
Referee: Evan Boyce