A youthful Coleraine side fought back from two goals down to grab a draw against Derry City at The Brandywell on Saturday.
Playing League Of Ireland opposition for the second time in the week following Monday’s victory over Dundalk in the Setanta Cup, the Bannsiders started with an unfamiliar back line including 18 year old Brad Surgenor at right back.
Despite this the Stripes started in assured fashion, the early pressure culminating in Gary Browne bursting into the home penalty area only to see his left-foot drive gathered by Gerard Doherty.
The hosts threatened intermittently, but took the lead minutes before the break via Rory Patterson, the former Bannsider clipping his shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the six yard box.
The second half was barely 10 minutes old when City doubled their lead. Johnny Watt, playing as a makeshift centre half, tried to head back to Eugene Ferry but his weak effort was latched onto by Mark Stewart and the Derry forward rounded the Coleraine keeper before slotting home.
With 10 minutes remaining Coleraine were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out for a foul on Eoin Bradley. Former City midfielder Harkin duly stepped up and curled an exquisite shot in off Doherty’s post to reduce the arrears.
The Bannsiders then drew level as Harkin and Bradley harried Jarvis and subsequently provided Gary Browne a shooting opportunity from just inside the home penalty area. Browne’s shot could only be parried by Doherty, but Luke McDowell was on hand to sweep home the rebound.
With seconds remaining Eoin Bradley almost completed the turnaround for the Bannsiders, but having been put through on goal his effort was saved by Doherty.