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Coleraine resilience the key: Anderson

Coleraine 2 - Ballinamallard 2 (Coleraine win 4-2 on pens)

By Keith Thomas

Published 11/01/2016

On the spot: Coleraine's shoot-out hero Michael Doherty is embraced by skipper Howard Beverland
On the spot: Coleraine's shoot-out hero Michael Doherty is embraced by skipper Howard Beverland

Dejected Whitey Anderson saluted Coleraine's never-say-die attitude which saw them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Ballinamallard United boss thought his side were going through to the sixth round of the Tennent's Irish Cup when they led 2-0 five minutes from time at the Showgrounds - and about to register a first win in 11 matches.

But late strikes from Steven Douglas and Ruairi Harkin took the tie to extra-time with the Bannsiders finally settling it in the ensuing penalty shootout.

"You have to hand it to Coleraine. They dug in right to the very end and got their reward," said Anderson.

"I'm disappointed for my players because they put in a good shift in a really gripping cup tie.

"But you have to ask questions about our defending, especially allowing Steven Douglas to stride forward from defence and get a shot away from 20 yards without being pressed.

"Harkin's goal was a cracker of a shot, a lovely goal and I have to give him credit for it."

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney admitted it was a little to close for comfort.

"We came from two down against Larne Tech in the cup three years ago when Stephen Lowry hit a late winner. I always knew they lads would keep trying right to the end and it paid off."

Coleraine looked to be in a pickle after Ryan Campbell and Adam Lecky punished poor defending to fire the Mallards into a two-goal lead after 33 minutes.

Then the ageless Douglas sparked the comeback after a period of sustained Coleraine pressure. The former Linfield defender crashed a left foot shot past keeper Alvin Rouse from the edge of the box five minutes from the end.

Harkin stepped up with Coleraine's second deep into injury time and another left foot delivery from distance.

In the shootout, Coleraine keeper Michael Doherty smothered Campbell's spot kick to take the Bannsiders through to a sixth round away day at Portadown next month.

Coleraine: Doherty, Kane, Beverland, Douglas, Mullan, Parkhill (Lyons, 65 mins), Harkin, Higgins, Brown (Morrow, 61 mins), McLaughlin, McGonigle (McCauley, 46 mins). Unused subs: McCafferty, Watt.

Ballinamallard: Rouse, Crilly, Friars, McLaughlin, Elliott (Klobusek, 96 mins), McCartney, Lafferty, McCabe (Beacom, 72 mins), Lecky, Sproule, Campbell. Unused subs: Smith, Feeney, McMenamin.

Man of the match: Lyndon Kane

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Mervyn Smyth (Belfast).

Belfast Telegraph

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