Belfast Telegraph

Caddell has final say to end Coleraine's unbeaten run

Crusaders 3 Coleraine 2

By Alex Mills

Declan Caddell's late strike settled a Bet McLean League Cup cracker at Seaview.

Oran Kearney's Coleraine crashed to their first defeat of the domestic season following a dramatic battle with Crusaders.

The Bannsiders appear to be in the market for dodgy goals these days. Following Jamie McGonigle's controversial winner against Linfield at the weekend - it is still undecided whether the ball had crossed the line - Gareth McConaghie earned them an early lead when he converted Ciaron Harkin's free kick with his hand.

But the Crues shrugged off the disappointment to hit back with a Jordan Forsythe double.

Although McGonigle levelled - and there was no doubt about that one - it was Caddell who booked his team a quarter-final place when he was gifted the winner.

The game was delayed for 15 minutes due to a floodlighting problem, while the main grandstand was closed to the home fans for health and safety reasons after sustaining damage in the storm that gripped the province on Monday.

Livewire Paul Heatley brought a great reaction save from keeper Chris Johns after only three minutes with a stinging left footed drive after the striker escaped the clutches of Steven Douglas.

Seconds later, Heatley again left Douglas in his wake following a delicious over the top pass from Billy Joe Burns, but he could only shoot across the face of the goal from a difficult angle.

It was all Crusaders but, against all the odds, the in-form Bannsiders capitalised on Crues' inefficiency at the other end by taking the lead - controversially.

When Harkin whipped in a free kick from the left, McConaghie popped up to bundle home with an outstretched fist.

Crues goalkeeper Brian Jensen raced to referee Raymond Crangle in protest, but the Belfast official wasn't interested.

The hosts were right out of luck 11 minutes before the break when Heatley at last managed to get the better of Johns, only for Scot Whiteside to pop up on the line to clear.

Forsythe gobbled up the rebound and his shot was also arrowing into the bottom corner until the young defender again hoofed to safety.

Then, just seconds before the break, Gavin Whyte's pinpoint cross was met by Jordan Owens, but he looked on in frustration as the header cannoned back off the post.

Crusaders were back on terms just two minutes after the break, however.

Whyte this time picked out the unmarked Forsythe and his header bulleted past Johns.

The home team then turned the game on its head by taking the lead on the hour.

Caddell outstripped McConaghie on the right before sending in a low cross that Forsythe dispatched with aplomb.

The Belfast boys managed to keep the lead for only two minutes. McGonigle took off on a dazzling solo dash down the left and, after ghosting past former Coleraine favourite Howard Beverland, he cleverly rammed the ball into the bottom corner.

Crusaders responded with Snoddy capitalising on some slack defending only to see Johns get down smartly to smother.

But the home fans were celebrating with 15 minutes remaining - and Caddell couldn't believe his luck.

Aaron Traynor's woeful attempted clearance fell to the midfielder, who only had to poke the ball past Johns to send the Crues into the last eight.

Crusaders: Jensen, Burns, McChrystal, Beverland, McClean, Forsythe, Caddell (Lowry, 83 mins), Snoddy, Heatley, Whyte, Owens. Unused subs: Ward, Carvill, Dougherty, Kerr.

Coleraine: Johns, Harkin, Douglas, McCauley (Ogilby, 87 mins), Kee, McConaghie, Parkhill, Traynor, McGonigle, Whiteside, McCready (Wilson, 78 mins). Unused subs: Mullan, Doherty, Kirk.

Man of the Match: Jordan Forsythe

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

Belfast Telegraph

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