Brown bags winner as Bannsiders move into second spot
Ballinamallard 1-2 Coleraine
Coleraine moved into second place in the Danske Bank Premiership table behind champions Crusaders as they secured a hard fought win away to Ballinamallard United last night.
Oran Kearney's side rode their luck at times at Ferney Park, but with the game at 1-1 they produced a strong finish to the contest and a rasping drive from substitute Rodney Brown six minutes from time sealed the victory that moves the Bannsiders above Cliftonville in the table.
The first half was slow to get going with neither goalkeeper called into action during the opening quarter, but it was Ballinamallard who were enjoying the better of the exchanges as the half progressed.
However, an error by home goalkeeper Stefan McCusker, who was standing in for the suspended Alvin Rouse, gifted the visitors the lead on the half hour mark.
There was some tidy play in the build up to the goal from the lively Jamie McGonigle as he lifted the ball over a defender, but his shot did not look as if it would cause any bother to the Mallards custodian.
McCusker though spilled the ball and Ian Parkhill, who only came into the side at the last minute after James McLaughlin picked up a knock prior to kick off, was on hand to force the ball over the line.
Ballinamallard responded well to going behind as they took control of the game and they will be wondering how they were not back on level terms seven minutes later as Adam Lecky rolled the ball across the six yard box to Jason McCartney, but he somehow fired wide with the goal at his mercy.
And the Mallards continued to press with Johnny Lafferty seeing a volley blocked before the ball was cleared after a scramble in front of goal.
The home side were again on the front foot at the start of the second half and McCartney slid in Martin who was denied by a good save from Doherty.
An equaliser did arrive though in the 57th minute when the influential Lecky headed home a McCartney corner from the left.
However, Coleraine had their best spell of the game as the contest entered the final 15 minutes.
McCusker atoned for his earlier mistake as he denied McGonigle while Colm McLaughlin then made a last ditch block to turn behind a Parkhill shot.
The Bannsiders continued to press though and winner was to arrive in the 84th minute and it was a terrific effort from substitute Brown that sealed all three points as he cut in from the left and unleashed a fierce drive that flew into the corner to send Coleraine second.
BALLINAMALLARD UNITED: McCusker, McMenamin, McLaughlin, Feeney, Martin, McKenna (McCabe 75mins), Lafferty, McCartney, Beacom, Lecky (Klobusek 83mins), Campbell.
COLERAINE: Doherty, Beverland (Watt 44mins), Higgins, Douglas, McCauley, McCafferty, Parkhill, Lyons (Brown 64mins), Kane, McGonigle (Morrow 86mins), Falconer.
Match rating: 7/10
Man of the match: Jamie McGonigle (Coleraine)
Referee: Steven Taylor