COLERAINE recorded their first win of the season in some style on Monday night as they put champions Cliftonville to the sword.
The Bannsiders ran out deserved 3-1 winners in the end thanks to goals from Stevie Lowry, Stephen Carson and Gary Browne.
The win propelled Coleraine up to fourth place much to the delight of the man of the match Lowry.
“It takes a lot of effort from all of the lads to get a result like that,” said Lowry afterwards.
“We know that from our defeats up here at Solitude last season.
“It’s great for the fans. It’s great to be able to give them three points.”
Coleraine were first to threaten a goal with 10 minutes on the clock. Johnny Watt’s long ball eventually found its way to Stevie Lowry, he teed up Gary Browne whose rasping volley was well saved by Conor Devlin.
The visitors didn’t have long to wait for the opener though as Lowry fired in to the bottom corner via a deflection off Paddy McNally after Browne had teed him up with 19 minutes gone.
The hosts were struggling to find any rhythm as Coleraine dominated possession. But Wayne Drummond had to react quickly to push away Chris Curran’s low cross 10 minutes before the break.
The Bannsiders were causing the champions a lot of problems however when they broke forward. Another quick break saw Carson release Gareth Tommons with a clever reverse pass, and the midfielder drew a great save out of Devlin on 38 minutes.
At the other end Ciaran Caldwell’s deflected effort found the roof of the net much to Coleraine’s relief.
Oran Kearney’s men should have doubled their lead right on hald time after another good move sawWatt pick out Browne with a good cross, but the striker’s header flew the wrong side of the post.
Cliftonville should have drawn level straight after the restart as Coleraine failed to deal with Stephen Garrett’s low cross from the left, O’Carroll’s effort though sailed well over the bar.
Ciaran Caldwelll spurned an even better opportunity to level the score four minutes later as Curran picked him out at the back post, but he fluffed his lines and fired wide.
At the other end Lowry almost doubled his and Coleraine’s goal tally a minute later as Carson teed him up on the edge of the box, he showed some neat footwork before crashing a shot off the upright with Devlin well beaten.
Seven minutes later it was 2-0 though and that man Lowry was involved again. Again Carson set him up outside the box, Lowry’s initial effort was blocked by Devlin’s legs but Carson deflected the ball in to the bottom left-hand corner.
Two became three five minutes later as Jennings robbed the ball off Cosgrove to feed Tommons, his clever pass found Browne who made no mistake firing home his third of the season.
The Reds threw on three subs and one of them, Martin Donnelly forced Drummond in to a great save with 20 minutes to go.
It was another substitute, Ciaran Doherty who did reduce the deficit with nine minutes to go as he headed home Catney’s cross.
But the three goal cushion was almost restored immediately as Harkin’s free kick was deflected in to Browne’s path but this time he fired wide.