Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine progress after 4-3 victory over Cliftonville in Irish Cup

By Keith Thomas

TEN-man Coleraine won a seven-goal thriller to see off Cliftonville in a dramatic Irish Cup fifth round replay at the Showgrounds.

Coleraine led 4-1 at one stage despite losing captain Michael Hegarty, who was red-carded after 25 minutes, but last year's beaten finalists refused to lie down and scored twice in four minutes to produce a nail-biting final 10 minutes.

First half goals from winger Paul Owens and striker Gary Browne crowned a memorable first half for the home side although Hegarty was dismissed for a lunge at Reds youngster Tomas Cosgrove

David McDaid slotted in a second-half penalty and Coleraine look to be home and hosed until the Reds' revival kicked in with a goal from Diarmuid O'Carroll with Ruairi Harkin restoring Coleraine's three-goal advantage.

Then Ciaran Caldwell and Joe Gormley struck late on for Cliftonville to put home nerves on edge.

Substitute Martin Murray hit the bar as the Reds pressed for an equaliser to take the game into extra-time and the Coleraine goal led a charmed life in those hectic closing minutes, but Oran Kearney's men held out to secure a home tie with Dungannon Swifts in the sixth round.

The Bannsiders created two early chances with Browne finding room to turn and drill a shot wide. Then Hegarty elected to take long range pot shot which fizzed past keeper Conor Devlin but well off target.

The pressure paid off for Coleraine 11 minutes in. Owens refused to give up when his initial left foot shot was blocked following Ruairi Harkin's corner. The ball rebounded back towards him and he beat Devlin with his angled right foot follow up.

Coleraine's hopes suffered a major setback after 25 minutes. Hegarty's two-footed tackle on Cosgrove resulted in a straight red card from referee Raymond Crangle, but it took a goal line clearance by Eamonn Seydak after 31 minutes to prevent Cliftonville from going further behind.

Harkin spotted Owens' run into the box and fed the ball into his feet. After twice beating Catney, Owens eventually placed a curling shot past Devlin but Seydak hooked the ball away just as it looked as though it was destined for the net.

However, Coleraine did rock the Reds with a second strike 10 minutes before the break. Stephen Douglas' deep free kick was headed out of the box by Marc Smyth, but only as far as Owens. He picked out Browne who seemed to have all the time in the world to line up his shot and send a left foot ground shot well out of Devlin's reach.

It looked bleak for Cliftonville after 49 minutes. As McDaid advanced into the penalty area he was sent to ground by Jamie McGovern's clumsy intervention. McDaid placed the ball on the spot and sent Devlin the wrong way to make it 3-0.

Within four minutes Cliftonville threw themselves a lifeline. Cosgrove darted down the right wing and his cross was headed home from close range by O'Carroll, his fourth goal of the season.

Ciaran Caldwell then steered the ball the wrong side of an upright as Cliftonville battled to find another goal.

The Reds were relentless as they cranked up the pressure, but Coleraine ensured their place in the sixth round with a fourth goal in 72 minutes. Beverland's headed clearance was collected by Harkin in midfield, he found Owens who lofted a return pass into the box for Harkin to smash the ball into the net.

But the game just kept giving. Gormley and O'Carroll carved out the opening for Caldwell to beat Ferry from 12 yards out and Gormley got a touch in a goalmouth scramble in the 81st minute to make it 4-3.

Right at the end O'Carroll blasted a chance over from six yards out and when Murray hit the bar Cliftonville's hopes of taking a pulsating tie to extra time evaporated.

Coleraine: Ferry, Canning, Beverland, Douglas, McIlmoyle, Harkin, Hegarty, Tommons (Lowry 48 mins), Owens (Watt 86 mins), Browne (Jennings 80 mins), McDaid. Subs. Shannon, Ogilby.

Cliftonville: Devlin, Cosgrove (Murray 57 mins), McGovern, Smyth, R Scannell (Caldwell 57 mins), Curran, Seydak, Catney (C Scannell 75 mins), O'Carroll, Curran, Gormley, Doherty. Subs. McMullan, Niblock.

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast).

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