Three wins on the bounce for Bannsiders

Coleraine climb to fifth in Danske Bank Premiership table with victory over Carrick Rangers

Three wins on the bounce for Bannsiders

Coleraine goalkeeper Gareth Deane was in outstanding form as Coleraine defeated Carrick Rangers.

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

sport@thechronicle.uk.com

THREE second half goals earned Coleraine all three points in a testing game against Carrick Rangers on Saturday.

The visitors actually enjoyed the better of proceedings in the first half and should have gone in a goal to the good at the break.

That they didn't is down to goalkeeper Gareth Deane who produced a brilliant save, diving full length to his right, to deny Caolan Loughran from the penalty spot ten minutes before the break.

Bannsiders' boss Oran Kearney used the half-time interval to address his side's shortcomings in the first half and he duly sent on Stewart Nixon and Eoin Bradley in place of James McLaughlin and Ian Parkhill for the second period.

And the manager got the impact he desired, with both replacements on the scoresheet following their introduction.

Before then, however, 'Mr Reliable,' Ben Doherty, showed Loughran how to take a penalty, blasting past Aaron Hogg for his seventh league goal of the campaign to give the hosts a 1-0 advantage.

The afternoon was to end in disappointment for the team's leading scorer, however, as he was stretchered from the field with a suspected broken collar bone midway through the second half.

Niall Currie's side continually made light of their lowly league position to cause Coleraine all sorts of problems in the third quarter but they could find no way past an inspired Deane.

The former Linfield stopper made a series of wonderful saves to highlight just what a signing he was in the summer to replace the departing Chris Johns.

Deane's heroics were rightly rewarded at the opposite end of the field when Nixon headed home a Jamie Glackin cross against his former team-mates with time running out.

And the points were finally secured when Bradley tapped in from close range following a spot of pinball in the visiting defence.

It may not have been as convincing a performance as the 3-0 scoreline suggests but that won't bother Oran Kearney and his backroom staff.

Yes, he knows his players can play much better than they showed here, but a win is a win no matter how it is achieved and particularly in this league where points can be hard to come by.

That's a hat-trick of wins now for the buoyant Bannsiders who make the short trip up the A26 next Saturday for a somewhat delayed Boxing Day derby.

Ballymena Utd also won on Saturday, getting the better of Mid and East Antrim Council rivals Larne at Inver Park, setting the scene for what should be an enthralling contest seven days from now.

Unfortunately, Ben Doherty is unlikely to feature having picked up a serious injury, but the better news for supporters is the return of defender and last season's 'player of the year,' Aaron Canning.

The Limavady man, who hasn't featured in the league all season, made his return from the bench in the closing stages here and his return is a welcome sight for the player, his family and the greater Coleraine FC family.

COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, Doherty (Canning ’75 mins), Lowry, McLaughlin (Bradley ’46 mins), McConaghie, Tweed, O’Donnell, Parkhill (Nixon ’46 mins), Glackin, Traynor.

Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), Wilson, Allen, Beverland.

CARRICK RANGERS: Hogg, Neale, Surgenor, Rodgers, Loughran (Glendinning ’71 mins), Chapman, Frazer, Kelly, Smith, Gibson (McMullan ’68 mins), Anderson.

Subs Not Used: McKinty (GK), Forsythe, Gordon, Cherry, Ramsey.

Referee: Ross Dunlop

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