Donnelly double helps Cliftonville roar to their second victory
Cliftonville secured an emphatic triumph over Coleraine at Solitude last night, soaking up waves of early pressure before hitting four unanswered goals.
A disputed Davy McDaid penalty sent the hosts on their way before a quickfire Jay Donnelly double made sure of the points, with Stephen Garrett's incredible late effort putting the seal on a very satisfactory night for the Solitude side.
Both teams entered last night's contest on the back of 1-0 successes in their respective opening day bouts and neither boss saw fit to tinker with their starting line-ups.
Reds gaffer Tommy Breslin - still minus the services of suspended pair Jaimie McGovern and Ryan Catney - once again partnered Caoimhin Bonner with Johnny Flynn at the back and handed versatile skipper George McMullan a central midfield role alongside James Knowles, with Jay Donnelly and former Coleraine favourite McDaid partnered in attack.
The Bannsiders, meanwhile, again selected new boys Rodney Brown and Sammy Morrow up front, with manager Oran Kearney once more opting to keep James McLaughlin - the debutant hero in Saturday's Showgrounds defeat of Glentoran - in reserve on a bench that also included the promising talent of young forward Jamie McGonigle.
The breakthrough came on the half hour when, after dodging his way past Garth Falconer, Chris Curran's progress was impeded by David Ogilby and, having taken his time to determine whether the offence took place inside or outside the box, referee Keith Kennedy pointed to the spot, with McDaid stepping up to convert.
It was 2-0 early in the second period when McDaid's pass was directed across the face of goal by Martin Donnelly, whose namesake Jay simply couldn't miss, who added a second on 52 minutes.
The loudest roar of the evening was reserved for the final goal when Garrett - whose comeback on Saturday ended an eight-month injury-enforced absence - found the top corner with an outrageous long-range attempt that gave Doherty no chance and had the home fans in raptures.
CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Bonner, Flynn, Knowles, Curran, McMullan, McDaid, M Donnelly, Seydak, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: Garrett (Knowles, 64 mins), Brennan (McMullan, 81 mins), Smyth, Murray (McDaid, 71 mins), Morgan.
COLERAINE: Doherty, Beverland, Mullan, Higgins, Douglas, Ogilby, Morrow, Harkin, Brown, Parkhill, Falconer. Subs: McCauley, Canning (Beverland, 46 mins), McLaughlin (Ogilby, 46 mins), Lyons, McGonigle (Morrow, 68 mins).
Man of match: George McMullan
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)