IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield end Coleraine's unbeaten run

Mark Stafford celebrates his goal.
Mark Stafford celebrates his goal.

Linfield 2 Coleraine 1

Linfield ended Coleraine's long unbeaten run with a 2-1 win at Windsor Park.

Goals from Andy Waterworth and Mark Stafford, who was playing after the red card he received against Crusaders was rescinded, put the hosts in control at the break.

The Bannsiders improved in the second half and set up a barnstorming finish after Darren McCauley reduced the deficit.

But Oran Kearney's men could not find the all important equaliser despite their best efforts.

Chris Johns was called into action on seven minutes as he tipped over Chris Casement's curling free kick.

From the resulting corner Mark Stafford rose highest, but he could only direct his header wide of the target.

Jordan Stewart got the run on David Ogilby on 11 minutes as he surged into the Coleraine penalty area, but he was caught in two minds and Johns smothered his cross-cum-shot.

The home side took the lead in the 19th minute after Andy Waterworth was clipped in the box by David Ogilby, The striker dusted himself down and slotted the penalty into the corner.

The Blues extended their lead on 31 minutes as the Coleraine defence went to sleep from Casement's quick free kick. Niall Quinn latched on to the through ball and picked out the unmarked Mark Stafford at the back post, who headed into the empty net.

The Bannsiders had a brilliant opportunity to pulled a goal back in first half stoppage time when they cut through the Linfield defence for the first time in the game.

Jamie McGonigle exchanged passes with Darren McCauley as he bore down on Roy Carroll's goal, but he scuffed his shot and the keeper parried the ball away for a corner.

Oran Kearney made a change at the break bringing on Gareth McConaghie for David Ogilby and his side looked more positive in the opening exchanges after the restart.

Jamie McGonigle forced his way through on 58 minutes, but Stafford produced a great block to deny him after he pulled the trigger.

They did have a goal back inside a minute though as Darren McCauley produced a great shot on the turn to beat Carroll from the edge of the box.

McCauley went close again on 68 minutes as he met Carson cross from the right, but his header flew just past the target.

The Bannsiders almost equalised with two minutes to go when O'Donnell got on the end of Carson's corner kick, but it cannoned off Carroll and away to safety.

And right at the death Aaron Traynor went close with an effort from another corner.

Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, C. Stewart (Millar 73), Haughey, Waterworth, Lowry, J. Stewart (Burns 73), M. Clarke, Casement, Garrett, Quinn.

Subs: Callacher, Rooney, Mitchell.

Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, Ogilby (McConaghie 46), McCauley, Smith, Carson, O'Donnell, Parkhill (McCready 79), Traynor, McGonigle.

Subs: Douglas, Kee, Whiteside.

Referee: A Davey