Glentoran edge past Coleraine to book place in Europa League play-off final
Glentoran will face Cliftonville in the Europa League play-off final after last night's 2-1 win over Coleraine at the Showgrounds.
Goals in either half from Calum Birney and Curtis Allen sealed the win.
Substitute Jamie McGonigle set up a tense final few minutes when he pulled a goal back for Coleraine, but the visitors held on.
It was a tentative start from both sides as the prize on offer seemed to be weighing heavy on the players’ minds.
Chris Johns almost gifted the visitors an opportunity on seven minutes as his scuffed clearance hit Chris Lavery, but the keeper recovered to claim the rebound.
At the other end Coleraine were shouting for a penalty on 18 minutes as Ian Parkhill looked to be brought down by Birney, but referee Andrew Davey waved play on.
Former Bannsider Allen created a bit of space in the box as he spun his marker three minutes later, but his shot from a tight angle only found the side netting.
Coleraine thought they had taken the lead on 28 minutes after Elliott Morris dropped a cross. McCauley teed up Parkhill, but his chip hit the bar the ball was cleared to Neil McCafferty, who fired in from the edge of the box.
Controversially a late flag was raised by the linesman and the goal was chalked off.
To further rub salt into the wound the Glens went up the field and took the lead.
A free-kick into the box was knocked back by Allen and Birney hooked the ball home.
Coleraine started the second half off in positive fashion with Parkhill and McCauley both going close in the opening minutes.
But once again it was the visitors who did the damage as Allen got on the end of a Lavery cross to head home his 22nd of the season.
The Bannsiders gave themselves a lifeline with six minutes to go. Darren McCauley broke down the left and delivered a pin-point cross for Jamie McGoinigle to head home.
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Beverland, Douglas, McCafferty, Harkin (Higgins 33), Brown (McLaughlin 53), McCauley, Morrow (McGonigle 64), Parkhill.
Subs not used: Doherty, Ogilby.
Glentoran: Morris, Holland, Birney, Addis, Magee, Caldwell, Smyth (McKee 67), Allen, McCaffrey (McCullough 88), Lavery, Nelson.
Subs NOT USED: Hogg, Gibson, Cafolla.
Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)