Coleraine lose further ground on leaders
Thursday, 8 December 2016
COLERAINE lost further ground on the leading teams in the Danske Bank Premiership with defeat to Cliftonville on Friday night. The home side lost 1-0 in a repeat of the same scoreline when the two teams met at Solitude earlier in the season.
On both occasions there was little between the sides, the Reds taking their chances and the Bannsiders not.
The big talking point before the game was the decision of Coleraine manager Oran Kearney to omit three high profile players from the matchday squad.
Striker James McLaughlin, midfielder Neil McCafferty and defender Lyndon Kane were all left out as management turned their eye towards the impending League Cup semi-final at Ballymena next Tuesday.
All three players are on four yellow cards for the season. A booking for any of them on Friday night would have seen them banned from the biggest game of the season to date at the Ballymena Showgrounds.
Despite the disruption caused by a change in personnel, the hosts began brightly and could have taken the lead just before the half hour when a surging run from midfield by Darren McAuley presented an opening for Jordan Allan.
The former Derry City striker created space for himself for the shot but he appeared to lose his balance as he connected with the ball and Cliftonville goalkeeper Peter Burke raced out of his goal to deflect Allan's shot away for a corner.
Allan went even closer five minutes later when his angled header from a left wing McAuley cross looped across goal and rebounded to safety off the woodwork with Burke rooted to the spot.
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