Allen keeps Linfield waiting for third
Coleraine 1 Linfield 1
Published 18/04/2013 | 07:59
Dethroned champions Linfield all but secured third place in the Dankse Bank Premiership with a point at The Showgrounds.
The Blues, who made four changes from the side that lost at Cliftonville on Saturday, led through Michael Carvill's goal on the stroke of half-time but ex-Linfield striker Curtis Allen headed Coleraine's response.
The Bannsiders, without suspended midfielder Michael Hegarty, lost keeper Greg Shannon to a hamstring injury before kick-off with number one Michael Doherty stepping in to reclaim the jersey.
After Gareth Tommons miscued at the back post with the goal at his mercy, Doherty came to Coleraine's rescue on the half hour when he saved Peter Thompson's near post header.
Coleraine's best avenue of opportunity seemed to be from flying winger Ryan McIlmoyle but the home team failed to capitalise on his endeavour and they almost paid the price when Jamie Mulgrew got his head to Carvill's cross but was just off target.
Then Philip Lowry's shot was bundled behind for a corner, but as Linfield got themselves into the driving seat they were almost caught cold at the back.
Winger Joel Bradley collected a Kyle McVey pass and his delicious lob left Blues keeper Ross Glendinning stranded, but the ball struck a post and rebounded to safety.
But the Blues bounced back on the stroke of half time. McAllister played Carvill in and the striker made no mistake from close in.
Allen, Coleraine's top scorer this season, took his total haul of goals to 20 after 55 minutes. Stephen Lowry found Paul Owens on the left and his sweetly delivered centre was headed past Glendinning by Allen.
Near the end former Coleraine full-back Johnny Black curled in a dangerous free kick only to see his delivery scrambled clear and young Linfield substitute Conor McMenamin was inches away from snatching the winner.
Coleraine: Doherty, Beverland, McVey, Ogilby, McIlmoyle, Harkin, Lowry, Tommons, Bradley, Owens (Tomelty 77), Allen. Subs. Scullion, Gillan, McMullan, Moore.
Linfield: Ross Glendinning; Reece Glendinning (Ervin 77), BJ Burns, Murphy, Black, Lowry, Henderson (McCaul 64), Mulgrew, Carvill, Thompson (McMenamin 75), McAllister. Subs: Hanley, Clarke.
Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus).