Bannsiders held to a draw

27th January 2015   �William Cherry/Presseye''Coleraine's Neil McCafferty celebrates scoring a penalty against Glenavon during Tuesday nights Danske Bank Premiership at the Showgrounds.
27th January 2015 �William Cherry/Presseye''Coleraine's Neil McCafferty celebrates scoring a penalty against Glenavon during Tuesday nights Danske Bank Premiership at the Showgrounds.

Coleraine missed out on the opportunity of closing the gap on Glenavon in the race for a top six place after they were held to a 1-1 draw at The Showgrounds.

The Bannsiders fell behind early on to a terrific Kevin Braniff free kick.

Coleraine got back on level terms right on half time thanks to a Neil McCafferty penalty, but the hosts couldn’t find a crucial winner.

There was only seven minutes on the clock when Braniff curled in a delightful free kick from just outside the box. The classy midfielder gave Michael Doherty no chance from the dead ball after David Ogilby had been penalised for a high boot on Kyle Neill.

The game was being played at a high tempo, but neither side were creating any real clear cut chances. Coleraine’s best opportunity in the opening 20 minutes was a glancing header from Matthew Snoddy, which failed to trouble James McGrath.

Referee Colin Burns was proving to be busier than the keepers as he booked both Conor Dillon and James Singleton in quick succession for rash challenges on Snoddy and Brad Lyons respectively.

The hosts almost grabbed a goal back on 39 minutes as Higgins’ long ball caused confusion between Winkie Murphy and McGrath, as they dallied Joe McNeill nipped in between them to lift the ball over the keeper, Murphy though recovered to hook the ball off the line.

Coleraine did draw level right on half time. A clever through ball by Lyons fed the onrushing Ian Parkhill who was sent sprawling by McGrath. The keeper picked up a yellow card and could do nothing to stop McCafferty’s spot kick.

The home side almost took the lead five minutes after the restart as McNeill’s centre dropped to Snoody in the box, but Dillon reacted well to block the on-loan midfielder’s shot.

Substitute Declan O’Brien almost put Glenavon back in front again just after the hour mark with an audacious lob. He picked up Andy Kilmartin’s through ball some 30 yards out and with the outside of the boot beat Doherty but could only find the roof of the net.

At the other end Parkhill fed McNeill in the box, but the wide man blazed over from a tight angle.

Substitute Shane McGinty went closer with a shot from outside the box on 88 minutes, which McGrath had to tip over.

COLERAINE: Doherty, Higgins, Douglas (Kane ’78), Ogilby, Snoddy, McCafferty, Canning, Mullan, Parkhill, McNeill (McGinty ’77), Lyons (Browne ’88).

Subs Not Used: Watt, McGonigle.

GLENAVON: McGrath, Neill), Murphy, Kilmartin, Bradley (O’Brien ’58), Dillon, Caldwell, Marshall, Braniff, Martyn, Singleton (Patton ’58).

Subs Not Used: Kelly, Drylie, McGrory.