Coleraine’s run in this season’s Irish Cup came to a controvesial end at home to Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.
The Bannsiders went down 3-2 in the end, but it was the award of the Swifts third goal which had Oran Kearney fuming at the end.
Johnny Topley’s cross on 77 minutes found the back of the net but the referee’s assistant immediately raised his flag as Gary Liggett was clearly in an offside position. However, referee Arnold Hunter overruled the linesman and awarded the goal much to Kearney’s disbelief.
“I’ve just watched it back on the television and not only is Liggett offside but he also impeded Eugene Ferry,” he told Times Sport.
“It’s very frustrating as this changed the game. We still had enough chances to win the game but a poor 20 minute spell in the second half really harmed us.”
The Bannsiders make a really bright start to the game forcing Dungannon into some drastic defending at the back.
Stevie Lowry forced Gareth Buchanan into the first save of the day with 15 minutes gone. The midfielder picked up the rebound after his initial effort was blocked, before showing some good composure to tee himself up for another shot, which the Swifts keeper got down well to smother.
The visitors responded straight away as Stefan Lavery weaved his way down the right before driving a great ball across the the face of goal, but unfortunately Gary Liggett couldn’t get a vital touch.
Player of the Month Eugene Ferry Got down well to hold Ryan Harpur’s long range free on 20 minutes.
Howard Beverland came close to following up his midweek strike with another goal as he flicked on Lowry’s dangerous cross on 26 minutes, Buchanan thoughdid well to tip over the bar.
Buchanan was left helpless four minutes later as Joe McNeill sent Eoin Bradley through on goal with a clever pass. The striker coolly rounded the Swifts stopper, but his touch took him a bit wide and he could only find the side netting as he tried to hook the ball in with his left foot.
It was the visitors though who opened the scoring with 38 minutes on the clock. McNeill lost the ball to Grant Hutchinson, his attempted pass was blocked but he curled a delightful effort into the top corner from the edge of the box giving Ferry no chance.
But within four minutes Coleraine were level as Ruairi Harkin’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected in by McNeill.
The Bannsiders should have edge in front on 50 minutes as Buchanan failed to hold Harkin’s effort but McDaid or Bradley couldn’t force the rebound home.
The hosts were punished for that miss two minutes later as Harpur latched on to a through ball before firing into the net from 18 yards with a cool finish with the outside of his right foot.
Coleraine spurned a fantastic opportunity to level the scores on 68 minutes as substitute Gary Browne fed Bradley, but his effort sailed wide.
Within seven minutes Dungannon made it 3-1 as Johnny Topley’s cross-cum-shot caught out Ferry and found the top corner. Coleraine protested about Liggett’s interference but nothing was given
Coleraine gave themselves a lifeline with a minute to go as Bradley curled through a fantastic free kick. They should have been level in the first minute of additional time as Harkin picked out Beverland, but the defender headed over from six yards.
In the final minute Harkin again whipped another great ball into the box, but this time Browne failed to hit the target.
Coleraine: Ferry, Canning, McImoyle, Beverland, Douglas, Harkin, Tommons, Lowry, McNeill (Browne 68), McDaid, E Bradley.
Subs: Ogilby, Owens, Watt, Jennings.
Goal: McNeill (42), Bradley (89).
Booked: Lowry, Beverland, Canning, Bradley.
Dungannon Swifts: Buchanan, McCullough, Brennan, McCaffrey, Grieve, Harpur, Topley, Fitzpatrick (Glackin 77), Liggett (Brolly 65), S Lavery (Hazley 85), Hutchinson.
Subs: C Lavery, Tomelty.
Goals: Hutchinson (38), Harpur (52), Topley (75), Brolly.
Booked: McCaffrey, Fitzpatrick, Buchanan.
Referee: Arnold Hunter.