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Kearney is on a high after Coleraine end Crusaders jinx

By Joe West

Published 17/11/2016

Attack minded: Crusaders’ Marcio Soares makes a break past David Kee
Attack minded: Crusaders’ Marcio Soares makes a break past David Kee

Coleraine knocked Crusaders out of the League Cup in a late night penalty shoot-out drama.

The Bannsiders won 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw with defender Lyndon Kane atoning for a spot-kick miss at Seaview a few weeks ago in the league.

His success last night made up for substitute Neil McCafferty's miss from the spot in extra-time after youngster Dale McCreery had been judged to have handled Darren McCauley's cross.

Jordan Allan looked to have won it for Coleraine in extra-time when he slid in to meet Brad Lyons' left-wing cross in a crowded penalty area, but Jack Smith took the game to penalties when he levelled in the second period.

Oran Kearney's men reckoned they had unfinished business with the Crues in the competition. They were beaten in the 2012 final and knocked out of the tournament by the north Belfast men in the following two seasons.

"We wasted so many chances to seal the deal but I am pleased for the players that we did make it through," said Kearney.

Coleraine bossed things for much of the match but were wasteful up front. Kearney was desperate for success. His side's last victory over the Seaview men was in March 2014 and they had failed to register another win in 10 subsequent games.

Coleraine, with just one win over the Crues in 17 previous clashes, hung on in there in the spot-kick drama to secure their place in the last four.

Midfielder David Cushley created the visitors' best first-half chance, rolling a short free-kick for Andrew Mitchell to drill his attempt wide.

The Crues made 10 changes from Saturday's league win at Portadown and boss Stephen Baxter watched from the stands as he continued to serve a suspension.

He must have been concerned by keeper Michael Dougherty's early lapses. The stopper's second poor clearance from Mitchell's back pass presented Lyons with an opportunity, which the young star smashed off target.

The trend continued. Jamie McGonigle's cross found the unmarked Ian Parkhill, who didn't pack any power into his shot.

Busy McGonigle, a handful for the Crues defence all night, eased his way past two tackles before drilling the ball wide.

When Parkhill released McCauley, keeper Dougherty made a simple save. Only the woodwork saved Crusaders on 33 minutes when Parkhill swung in a cross and McGonigle guided his header onto a post with Dougherty struggling to reach the ball.

Twice after the break home striker James McLaughlin nipped in ahead of a defender to glance headers wide.

Before the end McLaughlin missed two more great opportunities to settle it and Lyons couldn't find the net either.

In extra-time McLaughlin couldn't beat Dougherty before Allan scored only for Smith to level it on 112 minutes and McCafferty to miss his spot-kick.

The Bannsiders, however, got it spot on in the shoot-out.

Belfast Telegraph

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