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Hegarty pounces late to deny Bannsiders all the points

Coleraine 2 Dungannon Swifts 2

By Keith Thomas

Defender Chris Hegarty's late goal earned Dungannon Swifts a 2-2 draw and denied Coleraine the chance to move into second place in the Premiership table. With Linfield manager David Healy in the crowd, Coleraine led through a Neil McCafferty penalty. Andrew Mitchell restored parity with a 17th-minute spot-kick, but Brad Lyons put the Bannsiders back in front before Hegarty earned the Swifts a point.

Coleraine forced a succession of early corners but it was from Rodney Brown's cross from open play that the opener arrived.

Jamie McGonigle was tripped as he went for the ball inside the box and referee Keith Kennedy instantly pointed to the spot. Midfielder McCafferty stepped up to smash his spot-kick home.

Bannsiders winger Darren McCauley then saw a shot deflected over the bar when he connected with a McGonigle cross.

But when Coleraine skipper Davy Kee was ruled to have handled Paul McElroy's shot at goal, Swifts were handed a route back into the contest. Their top scorer Mitchell confidently fired his penalty into the bottom corner.

Swifts keeper Andy Coleman came to their rescue when Coleraine broke through Lyons. The midfielder slipped a pass for the unmarked McGonigle to crash a shot towards the target, but Coleman got down to block the ball.

David Armstrong's under-hit back pass gifted Coleraine their second. The ball was collected by the alert Lyons and he navigated his way around Coleman before guiding the ball over the line.

But a major concern for Coleraine boss Oran Kearney was the loss of striker James McLaughlin to injury before the break, and he was replaced by on-loan Derry City front man Jordan Allan.

Coleraine had a let-off when Jamie Glackin picked out Mitchell after 51 minutes. He shook off his marker to race into the box and take the ball away from the keeper, only to send his shot well off target.

Then McGonigle glanced a header past Coleman following Lyndon Kane's cross. Unmarked Allan just failed to get a telling touch at the far post.

Lyons beat Coleman but struck an upright from 25 yards after connecting with Allan's 72nd-minute ball.

Coleraine were left to rue those near misses when Glackin set off down the right 11 minutes from time and crossed for Hegarty to head in from six yards to ensure a share of the spoils.

Coleraine: Johns​ , Kane, Douglas, McConaghie, Brown , McCauley, Kee, Lyons, McCafferty , McGonigle, ​McLaughlin (Allan 44). Subs not used: Mullan, Higgins, Ogilby, Parkhill ​​ .

Dungannon Swifts: Coleman​ , Hegarty, Wilson (McMahon 76)​ , Armstrong , Glackin, Mitchell, Harpur , O'Rourke, Burns, Clucas (Teggart 57)​ , McElroy (Fitzpatrick 89). Subs not used: Addis, Lowe.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn).

Belfast Telegraph

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