IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine denied by controversial Linfield goal

Coleraine's James McLaughlin celebrates scoring against Linfield.

Coleraine's James McLaughlin celebrates scoring against Linfield.

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Coleraine were right to feel aggrieved as they were pegged back in controversial cricumstances against Linfield at Windsor Park.

Referee Keith Kennedy awarded the home side a corner with two minutes to go in spite of the ball clearly coming off one of their players before going out.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney was less than happy with Linfield's controversial equaliser during last night's Danske Bank Premiership game against Linfield at the National Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney was less than happy with Linfield's controversial equaliser during last night's Danske Bank Premiership game against Linfield at the National Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast.

Aaron Burns fired in at the back post to cancel out James McLaughlin’s opener before Lyndon Kane saw red.

The Bannsiders were forced to shuffle their pack with something of a midfield crisis.

David Kee was ruled out due to his season-long loan from the Blues, and Neil McCafferty was serving a one-game suspension.

It was the hosts who threatened first as Mark Haughey got on the end of a Kirk Millar corner on 14 minutes, but he couldn’t direct it goalwards.

Coleraine's James McLaughlin celebrates opening the scoring against Linfield

Coleraine's James McLaughlin celebrates opening the scoring against Linfield

Coleraine responded as Ian Parkhill found himself in acres of space on the edge of thge box, but his curling effort never looked like troubling Roy Carroll.

Ross Gaynor was causing problems down the left, he picked Andy Waterworth out with a great ball on 24 minutes, but the striker’s flicked effort at the near post was well saved by Chris Johns.

The pair combined again 12 minutes later as Gaynor’s delicate chip played in Waterworth, but his first time shot was straight at Johns.

Coleraine made a substitution at the start of the second half as James McLaughlin replaced Gary Twigg and what an impact he made some four minutes later.

Rodney Brown whipped a great ball into the box, which evaded the static Linfield defence and the unmarked McLaughlin gleefully fired home from close range.

Coleraine had a big shout for a penalty waved away minutes later as McLaughlin’s shot struck Haughey’s arm, but referee Keith Kennedy adjudged the offence to be outside the box.

Gaynor was still proving to be a danger for the Blues and his low cross into the box on 59 minutes almost proved fruitful, once again though Johns was alert to divert the danger away with his legs.

Johns was certainly proving tough to get past. He got down well to smother Waterworth’s powerful effort with 15 minutes to go after Aaron Burns had played him in.

With two minutes to go the Blues drew level in controversial circumstances.

Burns fired home at the back post fromQuinn’s corner to level the game, and to add insult to injury for the visitors Kane saw red for his protests.

However, Jamie McGonigle almost restored The Bannsiders’ lead in injury time, but his curling effort crashed off the upright with Roy Carroll looking on helplessly.

LINFIELD: Carroll, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth, Lowry (McLellan 73), Millar (Burns 60), Casement, Mulgrew, Quinn, Gaynor (Carson 60), Smyth.

Subs Not Used: M Clarke, Fallon.

COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Douglas, McCauley, Twigg (McLaughlin 46), Brown, McConaghie, Lyons, Parkhill, McGonigle.

Subs Not Used: Higgins, Ogilby, Law, Edgar.

Referee: Keith Kennedy