It's a Showgrounds stalemate for Coleraine and Linfield

Aaron Traynor battles with Daniel Kearns
Aaron Traynor battles with Daniel Kearns

Coleraine 0 Linfield 0

Coleraine and Linfield had to make do with a point apiece in the heavyweight battle at The Showgrounds.

Both sides had chances in a feisty encounter, but neither team really did enough to take home all three points.

The hosts were first to threaten in front of a big crowd for Rodney McAree's first game in charge of the Bannsiders as Jamie McGonigle latched on to Stephen O'Donnell's long pass, his first time shot forcing Roy Carroll into a smart stop.

A great block from Jimmy Callacher on 29 minutes prevented Aaron Burns from scoring against his old club after Carroll had initially saved from Ian Parkhill.

Right on half time O'Donnell almost glanced a header into his own goal from a Joel Cooper cross, Chris Johns was alert though to save.

Into the second half and Kirk Millar scooped an effort over from close range on 66 minutes.

Two minutes later the best chance of the game for the hosts went begging as McGonigle headed over in front of goal.

Chris Johns did brilliantly to deny Daniel Kearns with 11 minutes to go. The wideman exchanged passes with O'Connor on the edge of the box before drilling a low shot on target, which the keeper did well to block with his foot.

And then Josh Robinson crashed a header off the underside of the bar from Quinn's corner.

Back came Coleraine as McGonigle raced on to Traynor's raking pass, but the Blues defence did enough to get back and get something on his shot allowing Carroll to grab it at the second attempt.

It looked like the visitors were going to snatch it in the first minute of added time as O'Connor's shot took a wicked deflection wrong-footing Johns, the ball struck the post and the keeper gratefully smothered the loose ball.