IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine ease past Ards

Coleraines Gareth McConaghie celebrates scoring his teams first goal during this evening's game against Ards at the Coleraine Showgrounds. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Coleraines Gareth McConaghie celebrates scoring his teams first goal during this evening's game against Ards at the Coleraine Showgrounds. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Coleraine restored their five-point lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with a convincing 4-1 win over Ards.

An unlikely brace from defender Gareth McConaghie put the Bannsiders in control at the break.

Midfielders Josh Carson and Martin Smith completed the rout after the restart.

The home side settled well and went close to breaking the deadlock inside the first quarter of an hour. Ian Parkhill failed to make contact with Josh Carson’s driven cross in front of goal, and Darren McCauley forced Aaron Hogg into a decent save from outside the box.

The Bannsiders did edge in front from the resulting corner as he headed in while prostrate on the ground after McCauley’s corner had struck the far post and Martin Smith had also struck the post from the rebound.

Coleraine were in complete control and but for Hogg they would have extended their lead as he denied Smith, Parkhill and Carson in quick succession.

The keeper was helpless for the Bannsiders second in first half stoppage time as that man McConaghie glanced home Ciaron Harkin’s free kick.

A surging run by McGonigle carved out the next chance on 48 minutes as his low cross was deflected goalwards by Parkhill, but Hogg saved well at the near post.

The third did arrive on 63 minutes thanks to a superb low drive from Josh Carson from almost 25 yards.

The hosts wrapped up the points with 14 minutes to go as Smith smashed the ball past Hogg from close range.

Ards pulled a late goal back through Michael McLellan after his initial shot had hit the bar.