COLERAINE crashed out oc the IRN-BRU League Cup in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night.
With the Bannsiders and Linfield locked at 0-0 after 119 minutes it looked as though it was destined to be sorted out by penalties.
But the visitors were awarded what looked a soft free kick on the corner of the box after a coming together between Kyle McVey and Michael Carvill.
The Linfield man dusted himself off before curled a superb shot into the far corner and send last year’s beaten finalists crashing out.
The first half was a real non-event with both sides failing to live up to the top billing.
The visitors created several half chances without really troubling Cullen.
While at the other end Coleraine spurned a great chance as they found themselves two-on-one. Curtis Allen tried to send Steven Lowry scampering past David Armstong, but the ball cannoned off his heal and the chances was lost.
Into the second half and Ruairi Harkin’s deflected shot had Blayney at full stretch, while Thompson screwed a shot well off target after picking up McIlmoyle’s clearance.
Coleraine finally started to find their passing range and on 58 minutes Harkin released Allen, his first time shot was beaten away by Blayney.
Skipper David Ogilby was next to go close as he escaped Murphy’s clutches to power a header towards goal from Lowry’s dangerous free kick, but he couldn‘t get it on target.
The home side had a let off on 64 minutes as Quinn’s produced another dangerous set piece. His corner flew past everyone before ending up at Thompson’s feet but he couldn’t force it past Cullen.
The impressive Quinn almost cost his side a goal on 75 minutes as his slack back pass was chased down by Allen. Blayney managed to hack the ball away. Gillan picked up the loose ball before slipping in Harkin, but again Blayney was out quickly to smother the ball.
It was end to end stuff now with Burns drawing a good save out of Cullen from Henderson’s pass.
Alan Blayney proved his worth with two big saves to keep his side in the game. First he pushed away Harkin’s free kick, then he was brave to block Beverland’s effort after the defender somehow found himself through on goal.
Sub Michael Carvill almost won it for the Blues with his first touch as Quinn sent him scampering clear on the left but his shot rattled the woodwork.
And right at the death of normal time Henderson planted a header straight into the hands of Cullen.
Coleraine were first to threaten in extra time as Blayney was at full stretch to palm away Allen’s daisy cutter of a free kick on 92 minutes.
Just as the game looked destined for penalties Linfield grabbed the winner. Both McVey and Carvill seemed to lose their footing on the corner of the box but referee Hunter awarded the free kick and Carvill did the rest to break the Bannsiders hearts.
Coleraine: Cullen, Canning, McIlmoyle, Ogilby (McVey 80), Beverland, Harkin, Lowry, Hegarty, Owens (Gillan 57), Allen, Bradley (Boyce 70).
Subs: Doherty, Boyd.
Linfield: Blayney, Ervin, Armstrong, Murphy, Quinn, Henderson (Fordyce 109), Curran (Mulgrew 78), Thompson, Burns (Carvill 89), Garrett, McCaul.
Subs: Gault, Browne.
Referee: Arnold Hunter.