COLERAINE slipped to back-to-back defeats on Saturday as they went down 2-1 at home to Ballinamallard United.
Andy Crawford came off the bench to fire in a brace in the last 10 minutes to win it for the Mallards and exorcise last week’s 11-0 mauling at Portadown.
Eoin Bradley also came off the bench to score a debut goal for the Bannsiders, but it came too late to rescue anything for the hosts who dominated large chunks of the game.
The visitors spurned a great opportunity to go in front with 11 minutes on the clock after Richard Lecky was upended in the box by Shane Jennings. The Coleraine front man was back defending a corner but as he attempted to clear the ball he caught Lecky.
Wayne Drummond saved his team-mate’s blushes though with a fantastic save down to his right to push away Jason McCartney’s spot kick.
Ballinamallard went close again on 18 minutes as Cathal Beacom’s header was cleared off the line by Gareth Tommons.
Coleraine went close to grabbing the opener on 24 minutes after a mistake by Beacom let in Stevie Lowry, but Rouse did well to block. And four minutes later Rouse was at full stretch to trip over Harkin’s dangerous free kick.
The hosts had a let off just before the break as Ogilby’s back pass was miskicked by Drummond, but the keeper recovered in time to deny Crawford.
The second half took a while to get going as both sides toiled to create any real opportunities.
Coleraine began to find their feet as Stephen Carson rattled a shot of the bar after Alvin Rouse failed to get any distance to his punch.
The Bannsiders had a big shout for a penalty with 14 minutes to go as both Aaron Canning’s and Bradley’s shots, in quick succession, were blocked by Ballinamallard hands in the box.
The deadlock was finally broken with seven minutes to go as the hosts were caught on the break by a long ball out of the visitors defence. Substitute Crawford latched on to it before rounding Drummond and slotting it home.
The Mallards struck again on 88 minutes after a great run by David Kee on the right, he teed up McCartney who passed inside for Crawford to fire in to the roof of the net.
Bradley grabbed a debut consolation goal in the third minute of stoppage time but it was too little, too late for the Bannsiders.