Belfast Telegraph

Munster shows Pistol Pete the way to goal as Linfield edge Coleraine

By Mark McIntosh

Linfield 1 Coleraine 0: Linfield have yet to find their stride this season but they managed to inflict more misery on hapless Coleraine last night.

Paul Munster’s first half effort sealed the three points for David Jeffrey’s men in a largely one-sided contest at Windsor Park.

The Bannsiders did perhaps create the most clear-cut chances but the Blues should have been out of sight, only for Peter Thompson to endure another night without his goal-scoring boots.

Coleraine look a shadow of the force they were last season and they remain rooted to the foot of the table without a point or goal to their name.

Boss David Platt’s frustration was plain to see as he and Jeffrey became involved in several arguments on the touchline throughout the second-half.

The Blues could have taken the lead on six minutes when Thompson pounced on a ball from Jamie Tomelty.

The former Stockport striker easily evaded the feeble challenge of Howard Beverland but with Philip Lowry screaming for the ball in the centre, the Northern Ireland international shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

Coleraine, simply had no answer to Linfield’s pace and power going forward with Robert Garrett causing all sorts of problems.

Totally against the run of play however, the Bannsiders had a decent claim for a penalty on 18 minutes when Gareth Harkin slipped a ball through to Darren Boyce but as the ball got away from the former Glentoran man, Alan Blayney collided with him, although referee Ray Hetherington waved away the visitors’ appeals.

The impressive Garrett than had a shot blocked by Beverland before the visitors wasted a glorious chance to take a shock lead.

Stephen Carson whipped a teasing ball across the six-yard box but with the goal at his mercy, Harkin took a swing and completely missed his kick.

And Linfield took full advantage of that slice of luck four minutes later when Munster showed his clinical prowess in front of goal to bag his second strike of the season.

Thompson knocked Tomelty’s cross into Munster’s path and he spun away from John Watt and fired past O’Hare from 10 yards.

While the Blues certainly dominated possession, Platt’s troops always believed they had a chance on the rare occasions they got into the final third.

Two minutes after the break they should have restored parity but Paul Brown fluffed his lines — heading straight at Blayney.

Linfield’s failure to take their chances always posed its own threat and Thompson missed a glorious opportunity to double their lead on 49 minutes when Tomelty sent him clean through, but after steadying himself, he fired just wide.

And the striker failed to capitalise on another chance, eight yards out, on 63 minutes, this time O’Hare spread his body to make a superb diving save.

It was just that sort of night for Thompson as his miserable run in front of goal continues – thankfully for the Blues it didn’t matter on this occasion.

LINFIELD: Blayney, Ervin, Casement (Bailie 54), Murphy, Curran, P Lowry (BJ Burns 89), Garrett, Mulgrew, Tomelty, Thompson, Munster. Subs not used: Gault, O’Kane, Allen.

COLERAINE: O’Hare, Canning, McVey, Beverland, Watt, Carson, Hegarty, Harkin, Boyce (S Lowry 83), Scullion (Tommons 82), Brown. Subs not used: McLaughlin, Millar, Donnell.

Referee: Ray Hetherington (Dungannon)

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