More derby joy for the Bannsiders

National League U15 action between Coleraine FC Academy and Ballymena United.

National League U15 action between Coleraine FC Academy and Ballymena United.

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A bitterly cold derby day saw Coleraine host rivals Ballymena on the University 3G pitch, where the Bannsiders would struggle to get into the game early on.

The first half saw a few chances at both ends; however Ballymena took the lead after 30 minutes. Coleraine were denied a penalty shout with a few minutes left in the half, however minutes later Jordan Pollock launched a fantastic dipping shot from 25 yards out to equalise.

In the second half Ballymena started strongest and took the lead with 40 minutes on the clock. Five minutes later, Jordan Gregg broke his recent goal drought by slotting past the keeper. Centre backs James Richmond and Jordan Gregg, the outstanding players of the day, were called into action for the next 20 minutes and made some great tackles and clearances to keep Ballymena at bay.

Peter Rankin had a couple of chances on goal throughout the match, however it wasn’t until the dying minutes that he was able to hit the net, with a well-deserved goal and match winner. Despite not playing anywhere near the level they can, Coleraine finished the game with a win.

Man of the Match: Jordan Pollock and James Richmond.

Coleraine Under-11’s also came out on top in a five goal thriller against Bertie Peacock Youths, who broke the deadlock on 15 minutes. Two minutes later Jamie Sheppard, who was superb all game, had a fierce shot brilliantly tipped onto the bar. Coleraine appeared more comfortable in the second half with the sun behind them and started passing the ball around more effectively. Six minutes into the second period a Pierce Quigley ball into the box was causing all sorts of problems and from the scramble Patrick Kelly emerged to poke the ball home. Coleraine took the lead as Mark Lowry blasted a fierce long range free kick high past the keeper.

Eight minutes later Berties were level again. Coleraine were not to be denied though. With three minutes left Jamie Sheppard gathered a pass in midfield, strode forward and unleashed a magnificent looping shot over the keeper to make it 3-2. This was yet another great advert for local boys football and the development of young players at both clubs.

Man of the Match: Curtis Hanson.