Jamie McGonigle nets brace as Coleraine beat Crusaders at Seaview

Coleraine's  Jamie McGonigle scored a brace against Crusaders at Seaview.
Coleraine's Jamie McGonigle scored a brace against Crusaders at Seaview.

Jamie McGonigle showed exactly why Crusaders were so keen so snap him up as he shot the Hatchetmen down at Seaview.

The talented front man fired is a superb second half brace to send Coleraine top of the Danske Bank Premiership following the 3-0 win.

It was no more than the Bannsiders deserved as they outclassed a disjointed Crues side.

Josh Carson’s first half strike put them in control and they never looked back as they controlled large chunks of the game thanks to the imperious Stevie Lowry and centre half pairing Stephen O’Donnell and Gareth McConaghie.

The hosts made four changes to the side which grabbed a late win at Warrenpoint Town with skipper Colin Coates returning to action again.

Oran Kearney handed a second debut to Aaron Canning following his return to the club, while Eoin Bradley replaced Brad Lyons, who is waiting on confirmation of his proposed move to Blackburn Rovers.

The first chance came the way of the Bannsiders on seven minutes as Gareth McConaghie got on the end of Ciaron Harkin’s free kick, but his header sailed over the bar.

Crues keeper Sean O’Neill got lucky two minutes later as he spilled Bradley tame effort, but recovered in time as Darren McCauley closed in.

The home side didn’t heed the warning as Oran Kearney’s men broke the deadlock. It all stemmed from a bad mistake by Howard Beverland, whose miscontrol allowed Bradley to sneak in, his shot was palmed out by O’Neill into the path of Josh Carson, who slammed the ball home.

Crusaders almost drew level on 14 minutes as Paul Heatley was played in by Billy Joe Burns, but the forward dragged his shot past the far post.

Coleraine continued to look dangerous on the break as the home side were restricted to half chances for the remainder of the half.

The biggest cheer from the home support came at half time when former star Gavin Whyte was introduced to the crowd.

Crusaders were brigther at the start of the second half as Jordan Forsythe showed great skill on the edge of the box before driving a volley inches over the bar.

Matthew Snoddy was next to try his luck forcing Johns into an unorthodox save on 52 minutes.

The Bannsiders spurned a great opportunity to double their lead on 58 minutes as Bradley broke free from Coates’s clutches, he teed up McCauley, who blazed over from 12 yards.

Johns had to be at his best to tip away a rasper from Burns on 63 minutes as the Crues stepped up the pressure.

They were made to pay for that as McGonigle fired home the second for Coleraine with a cool finish after a slip by Ward on 65 minutes.

Within six minutes he had grabbed his second and Coleraine’s third with an excellent controlled finish into the bottom corner.

Eoin Bradley was next to try his luck from distance on 79 minutes, his shot just arrowing away from the target.

Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates, Lowry (Snoddy 28), Ward, Carvill (Cushley 69), Caddell (Patterson 69), Forsythe, Owens, Heatley.

Subs: Doherty, McChrystal, Owens, Clarke.

Coleraine: Johns, Canning, Traynor, McConaghie, O’Donnell, Carson, Harkin, Lowry, McCauley, McGonigle (Parkhill 90+2), Bradley.

Subs: Mullan, Douglas, Crown, Burns, Doherty, Gawne.

Referee: Arnold Hunter