Professional Coleraine keep the pressure on at the summit

Coleraine bounced back from Saturday’s defeat at Cliftonville with a 2-0 win over Larne to keep the heat on league leaders Linfield.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 9:39 pm

Goals in either half from strikers Curtis Allen and James McLaughlin sealed the win for the Bannsiders who now trail the Blues by seven points, but have a game in hand.

McLaughlin netted so seconds after taking the field at the start of the second half and Oran Kearney’s men produced a professional display to see out the game and claim a crucial victory.

For Larne it was a sixth league defeat since the turn of the year as they lose more ground on the top two.

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James McLaughlin celebrates his goal for Coleraine

It was the visitors who carved out the game’s first opening with 10 minutes on the clock.

Dean Jarvis found space in behind wingback Ronan Wilson, and he picked out David McDaid with a low cross, but the striker’s first time effort flew over the bar.

A minute later Andy Mitchell surged forward from midfield, but his long-range effort failed to trouble Gareth Deane in the home goal.

The Bannsiders finally found their rhythm and they started to threaten their opponents.

Curtis Allen’s clever pass put Ben Doherty into space, and he rattled the crossbar from 20 yards with Conor Devlin well beaten.

That spurred the hosts into life and they broke the deadlock with 26 minutes played.

Allen did well to recycle the ball in the box and pick out the onrushing Wilson, he looked up and picked out the striker in front of goal with Allengetting in front of Albert Watson to head past Devlin.

Back came Larne though as Hale beat the offside trap and lobbed Deane as he came out to close the angle, but the shot cannoned off the base of the post before Canning did well to win a free kick as the loose ball bobbled around the goal mouth.

McDaid then tried his luck from the angle of the box and Deane did well to tip over.

The home keeper did well again as half time approach as Hale tried his luck from distance.

The visitors were out early for the second half but they suffered a further blow a minute after the restart.

James McLaughlin came on for Doherty at the break and within 30 seconds he had the ball in the back of the net as he found himself through on goal from Glackin’s pass and coolly slotted past Devlin.

The Bannsiders controlled large parts of the second half with the visitors restricted to half chances.

Their first real opening of the second period came with ten minutes to go as Luke Wade-Slater nodded down for Jonny McMurray, but he lashed his shot over the bar.

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