Brilliant Bannsiders see off Cliftonville

Coleraine's Ruairi Harkin beats Conor Devlin to put 3-1 up against Cliftonville in the 5th round replay of the Irish Cup
Coleraine's Ruairi Harkin beats Conor Devlin to put 3-1 up against Cliftonville in the 5th round replay of the Irish Cup

Coleraine produced a magnificent display to see off Cliftonville in a seven-goal thriller in Tuesday night’s fifth round Irish Cup replay.

The Bannsiders had to cope with the first half dismissal of Michael Hegarty and a late comeback from the Reds to book a sixth round home tie with Dungannon Swifts.

The hosts who broke the deadlock on 11 minutes as Paul Owens slammed the ball home after the Reds failed to clear their lines from a Ruairi Harkin corner.

Conor Devlin made a mess of the initial ball in from the left, Stephen Douglas’ shot was blocked, but Owens fired in at the second attempt from 12 yards.

Coleraine’s hopes suffered a blow on 26 minutes as Hegarty was shown a straight red for a challenge on Tomas Cosgrove.

The home side responded well though and almost doubled their lead just after the half hour mark. Harkin’s clever pass found that man Owens in the box, he cut inside and curled a delightful effort towards the far corner, but Eamonn Seydak managed to hook the ball off the line.

Five minutes later the Bannsiders did extend their lead and what a cool finish it was by Gary Browne. Owens teed the striker up on the edge of the box after a poor header from Marc Smyth and Browne passed the ball into the net for his tenth of the season.

It was the 39th minute before Cliftonville forced a save out of Eugene Ferry, and what a shot it was as Diarmuid O’Carroll rattle one from 20 yards. Ferry though pushed it around the post.

Just before half time the former Derry City stopper produced an even better save to deny Chris Curran from point blank range. The wideman latched on to Cosgrove’s low cross, but Ferry denied him with an outstretched leg.

Coleraine got the second half off to a dream start as they made it 3-0 five minutes after the restart. Davy McDaid surged forward taking on the Cliftonville rearguard before being brought down in the box by Jamie McGovern.

McDaid dusted himself off and coolly slotted past Devlin.

But within three minutes the Reds had a goal back as O’Carroll headed home a Cosgrove cross. The visitors were dominating possession but it was the 10 men of Coleraine who remarkably scored next. A sweeping move from the back saw Harkin exchange passes with Owens before dinking the ball past the advancing Devlin.

Five minutes later Cliftonville reduced the deficit once more as Ciaran Caldwell fired in after O’Carroll found him in the box. And within four minutes they had made it 4-3 as Joe Gormley headed in from close range to set up a tense finish.

Cliftonville threw everything at the home side in the closing minutes, Martin Murray’s cross crashed off the bar but Coleraine stood firm.

Coleraine: Ferry, Canning, McIlmoyle, Beverland, Douglas, Harkin, Hegarty, Tommons (Lowry 48), Owens (Watt 86), Browne (Jennings 80), McDaid.

Subs: Shannon, Ogilby.

Goals: Owens (11), Browne (35), McDaid (50), Harkin (72).

Booking: McDaid.

Red Card: Hegarty (26).

Cliftonville: Devlin, R Scannell (Caldwell 58), Seydak, McGovern, Smyth, Curran, Cosgrove (Murray 58), Catney (C Scannell 75), Doherty, Gormley, O’Carroll.

Subs: McMullan, Niblock.

Goals: O’Carroll (53), Caldwell (77), Gormley (81).

Bookings: R Scannell, Doherty.

Referee: Raymond Crangle