IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine make it three wins in a row

Ballinamallard United 0 Coleraine 2

Saturday, 16th December 2017, 8:44 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th December 2017, 8:50 pm
Ian Parkhill celebrates his opener for Coleraine at Ferney Park.

Coleraine made it three wins on the bounce to see off Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park.

Goals in either half from Ian Parkhill and Brad Lyons strengthened the visitors' grip at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership and left the Mallards firmly rooted to the foot of the table.

The Bannsiders made a great start and could have been three up inside the opening ten minutes but for Richrad Brush in the home goal.

He denied Jamie McGonigle with a great save after the forward had got on the end of Ciaron Harkin's free kick.

Brush was quickly off his line to deny the striker twice more on five and eight after some good play by Brad Lyons had created the chances.

The Mallards almost created an opening on ten minutes as Ciaran Martyn tried to latch on to a cross in the box, but Stephen O'Donnell was in quick to dispossess him.

The former Derry City should have done better seven minutes later when Jonathan Leddy's free kick fell nicely for him in front of goal, but he snatched at the shot and fired over the bar.

The Bannsiders edged in front in fortuitous circumstances before the half hour and that man Lyons was involved again.

After a good run into the hosts penalty he cut the ball back for the onrushing Ian Parkhill, whose shot deflected past Brush and into the net.

Brush kept his side in it was a terrific double save on 33 minutes. First he somehow managed to scoop away Stephen O'Donnell's close range header from a Darren McCauley free kick, then he tipped over Lyon's effort from distance after the ball had been recycled.

McCauley went close to grabbing a goal for himself on 36 minutes as he cut in from the left after a jinking run before fizzing a shot past the far upright.

The Mallards carved out a good opportunity four minutes after the restart as Brush's long kick found Jason McCartney, he played in Ryan Curran who fired wide of the target.

Coleraine almost doubled their lead on 53 minutes as McGonigle and Lyons combined, with the latter surging into the box, his shot was parried by Brush with the rebound striking the defender on the hand, the referee Ian McNabb was unmoved though.

Ian Parkhill went close to doubling his tally on 62 mins after Harkin picked him out with a cross, but his volley flew past the upright with Brush stranded.

The Bannsiders did have the ball in the net a minute later, but it was ruled out for offside against McCauley.

The home side had another let off on 67 minutes when James McKenna upended Lyons as he raced through on goal.

Referee Ian McNabb took his time but after consulting with his assistant only produced a yellow card to relief of the Mallards.

The same player felled Harkin soon after and escaped further punishment from the ref. From the resulting free kick Brush did well to save Lyons's shot.

The Bannsiders wrapped up the points with five minutes to go after a sweeping move. Ian Parkhill and Martin Smith combined in the middle of the park before the former Kilmarnock man sent Lyons clear with a great through ball, he kept his composure to slot past Brush for his second goal in three games.

Ballinamallard United: Brush, Taheny, McKenna (McCann 74), Clarke, Curran, Martyn, McCartney, Leddy (McIlwaine 69), Armstrong (McGinty 62), Hutchinson, Smyth.

Subs: McLaughlin, Britton.

Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, McCauley, Smith, McConaghie (Douglas 52), Lyons, O'Donnell, Parkhill (McCready 86), Traynor, McGonigle (Kirk 90).

Subs: Kee, Whiteside.

Referee: I McNabb