Coleraine slipped up at Academy in Belfast on Saturday and had to settle for a losing bonus point to keep their title aspirations alive.
It was a wet, cold and windy afternoon and in the final analysis Academy just claimed the upper hand. It was a tightly contested match but it was the home side that got the better of marginal moves, all their points coming from one player.
Coleraine set the pace early on with a missed penalty opportunity coming in the second minute and a try on five minutes.
Cameron Fulton made the decisive break to feed the ball to a charging Brian Cochrane to score. The conversion drifted just wide. 0-5
Academy attacked from the restart and were awarded a penalty 25 metres out. Fly half Chris Cooper made sure of the points and again, ten minutes later, slotted another penalty between the posts. 6-5
It was Cooper again, ten minutes later, to score a converted try in the corner from an attack started just into the Coleraine 22. 13-5
With half an hour on the clock Coleraine were firmly on the offensive and when Cochrane gathered a chip forward and dived over the line only to have the try disallowed in an off-side decision. Coleraine again crossed the line a short time later but spilled the ball at the moment of touching down.
As the half drew to a close Cooper claimed three points from a penalty and as the home side kept the pressure on Coleraine, he claimed a drop goal as well to bring the half-time score to 19-5
Five minutes into the new half Poskitt saw a penalty attempt from 22 metres drift off target but ten minutes later Coleraine pressure yielded another penalty and Poskitt claimed three points. 19-8
On 20 minutes the Academy openside was shown the yellow card and Coleraine went on the offensive.
Academy defended strongly but ten minutes later Coleraine’s Andy McKnight charged his way through the defence to score. Poskitt’s conversion attempt went wide. 19-13
A few minutes later the whistle went and Coleraine had to settle for a losing bonus point.
League leaders Carrick also won on Saturday to put them on 39 points to Coleraine’s second place 36, but still with a game in hand over Coleraine.
This week the Richard Boyd’s men will be back in training and looking to the next game, entertaining Larne in the league. This will also be a tightly fought contest and the men in blue will be planning to use home advantage to gather more points as they continue the search for league success.
This weekend Coleraine 1s and 3s are at home to Larne, the 2s travel to Ballymena 3s.