Belfast Telegraph

Bannsiders enjoy the holiday as Reds defence goes missing

Coleraine 4 Cliftonville 1

Defensive mayhem: Arron Canning fires in Coleraine’s third goal
Defensive mayhem: Arron Canning fires in Coleraine’s third goal

By Steve Jones

Ciftonville's defensive woes continued as they were heavily beaten by Coleraine at The Showgrounds.

Goals from Eoin Bradley, Stephen Lowry, Aaron Canning and James McLaughlin helped the Bannsiders leapfrog their opponents into fifth position in the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Reds have now shipped 17 goals in their last four league outings.

The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes as a wonderful ball by Adam Mullan released the run of Jamie McGonigle, who unselfishly squared the ball for Bradley to fire home from close range.

A minute later, the lead was doubled as a pass from Ciaron Harkin found Stephen Lowry in space and the midfielder had all the time in the world to find the bottom corner.

The visitors made a bright start to the second-half and were finally rewarded for their efforts on 69 minutes when Joe Gormley's strong run and cross was forced home by Liam Bagnall's deflected effort.

Barry Gray's men didn't take advantage of that lifeline as Aaron Canning quickly restored the Bannsiders' two-goal cushion, firing home after Cliftonville failed to clear their lines from a corner kick.

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Sub James McLaughlin completed the scoring on 88 minutes when he rounded Richard Brush and slotted into an empty net.

Coleraine boss Rodney McAree was delighted after picking up 10 points from a possible 12 during the holiday period.

"I thought our first-half performance was exceptional and apart from the first 15 minutes in the second-half, I am extremely happy.

"We are now four games unbeaten but we have simply focused on hard work over the last few weeks.

"We have a lot of quality in our changing room and have added two players in the transfer window who will add to what we have here."

Reds assistant boss Harry Fay labelled his side's defensive display as 'horrendous'.

"If you concede bad goals the way we have been doing lately, then you won't win many football matches," he said.

"Everyone has to be accountable for our defending, but we will have to regroup and get back to basics."

COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, McCauley (Parkhill, 87 mins), Lowry, Bradley (McLaughlin, 87 mins), Carson, Crown (Douglas, 71 mins), McConaghie, McGonigle, Canning. Unused subs: Doherty, O'Donnell, Gawne, Whiteside.

CLIFTONVILLE: Brush, McGovern, Ives (Lavery, 79 mins), Harney, C Curran (McMenamin, 79 mins), R Curran, R Donnelly, Bagnall, Catney, Gormley, McNulty. Unused subs: McKenna, Breen, McConnell, Maguire, A Donnelly.

Referee: Tony Clarke

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