Nine-man Bannsiders see off Ballymena yet again

James McLauaghlin and the Coleraine players celebrate going 2-0 up at Ballymena United on Friday evening. wk0718mb
James McLauaghlin and the Coleraine players celebrate going 2-0 up at Ballymena United on Friday evening. wk0718mb
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Coleraine maintained their remarkable run of results at Warden Street with a 2-0 win over Ballymena United on Friday night.

But that only tells half the story of another intriguing derby clash.

A good Coleraine support who cheered their team on non-stop at Ballymena United on Friday evening. wk0709mb

A good Coleraine support who cheered their team on non-stop at Ballymena United on Friday evening. wk0709mb

The Bannsiders struggled to find their rhythm in the first half.

Second half goals from Darren McAuley and James McLaughlin though put them in control.

But two red cards in as many minutes threatened let the Sky Blues back into it.

Coleraine stood firm though and comfortably saw out the rest of the game to maintain their 100% record over Glenn Ferguson’s side this season.

The result also means Oran Kearney’s side have lost only one of their last 14 games at Warden Street.

“In the first half we were shocking and there was no other way to describe it, we were abysmal,” Oran Kearney told Times Sport after the game.

“But I said to the boys at half time that last week we should have had the game put to bed by half time. This week we haven’t kicked a ball so go on and win the game in the second half.

“I said’ Let’s start now, get about our business, have a performance like we normally doand go and get something from this game’.”

And that they did as they took the game to their derby rivals.

The Bannsiders went ahead on 51 minutes.

It came in slightly fortuitous circumstances as Ian Parkhill’s miscued shot was heading well wide until United defender Eoin Kane’s attempted clearance took the ball into the path of Darren McCauley.

The winger cut inside and his low shot flicked off the outstretched boot of McNaly, which was just enough to take the ball out of the reach of Alan Blayney.

The visitors doubled their advantage on 64 minutes when James McLaughlin got to Ian Parkhill’s low cross from the right ahead of Ballymena keeper Alan Blayney at the near post.

But the Bannsiders received a setback just two minutes later when Sammy Morrow was shown a straight red card by referee Keith Kennedy.

And the 10 men became nine just three minutes when left-back Mark Edgar, cautioned in the first half, collected a second booking.

But despite their numerical advantage, Ballymena rarely looked like finding a way back into the game and the closest the came was a close-range header from defender Paddy McNally which came back off the base of the post.

Darren Henderson also saw a well-hit shot pushed behind by Johns deep in stoppage time as Coleraine preserved their clean sheet.

“It was almost a half of two halves,” said Kearney.

“You get your second goal and then all of a sudden, boom, boom, two red cards in two minutesand it looks all of a sudden to be game on again.

“We had to be methodical about it.

“The last thing you want is to be camped in and can’t get out.

“David Ogilby, who hasn’t played much, and Howard Beverland, our skipper was fantastic, he’s different gravy, and those guys stepped up to the mark,” added the Bannsiders boss.