IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield suffer title setback as Coleraine win at Windsor
Young Jordan Allan drove another nail into Linfield's title ambitions at Windsor Park.
The 21-year-old former Derry City striker, grabbed his eighth goal of the season which meant the Blues again fell seven points adrift of title holders Crusaders at the top of the table.
For the second successive game, David Healy’s boys had to play a majority of the match with only 10 men after Jimmy Callacher was dismissed on 34 minutes after picking up two yellow cards.
It was Coleraine’s first league win at Windsor Park for seven years, and how they enjoyed it at the end.
Niall Quinn almost warmed up the home fans on a bitterly cold night after only four minutes when he tried his luck from the edge of the box, but his shot was easily saved by Chris Johns.
Coleraine captain Steven Douglas did the Blues a little glimmer when he clipped the heels of Niall Quinn on 26 minutes. However, Chris Casement, included for suspended skipper Jamie Mulgrew, could only fire the 20-yard free kick straight at Johns.
The hard-working Mark Clarke did managed to wriggle his way to the bye-line before drilling in a low cross that looked destined for the boot of Aaron Burns, but Douglas popped up to hoof the ball to safety.
Callacher had earlier been booked for a foul on Bradley and the home fans were enraged when Crangle again produced a yellow card for a trip on Jordan Allen on 34 minutes. For the second time in four days, the Blues were reduced to 10 men.
Coleraine attempted to take immediate advantage after Stafford had flattened Allan with another scything challenge, but Bradley could only fire the free-kick over the top.
It was the home team that created possibly the best chance of the half just three minutes from the break when Roy Carroll’s long punt down the middle was flicked on by Aaron Burns, which was gobbled up by Waterworth, but his shot looped into the outstretched gloves of Johns.
Playing with Waterworth up front, the Blues introduced Kirk Millar for the ineffective Jonny Frazer at the interval.
And, he was presented with a decent chance on 57 minutes when Waterworth was sent crashing by a clumsy tackle from Douglas.
Once again Quinn stepped up to take the free kick, but when he threaded the ball to Millar, he completely miss-kicked in front of goal.
But it was the small pocket of visiting fans who were celebrating 15 minutes from time, Gareth McConaghie’s teasing cross to back post was met by Allan, who powered home a great header at the back post.
The Blues thought they had levelled seconds later when Waterworth rammed the ball into the net after Johns had produced a stunning save to deny Stephen Lowry, but the referee’s assistant flagged for offside.
Linfield: Carroll, Haughey, Stafford, Callacher, Quinn (Stewart 73), Casement (Bright 84), Lowry, Clarke, Frazer (Millar 46), Waterworth, Burns. Unused subs: Fallon, Ward.
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Douglas, McCauley, McCafferty, McConaghie, Lyons, Parkhill, Bradley, Allan. Unused subs: Ogilby, Edgar, Twigg, Whiteside, Gawne.
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast).