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Clinical McGonigle determined for Coleraine to stay top as Bannsiders crush Crusaders

The striker scored twice as Crusaders suffered their biggest home domestic defeat in almost four years

By Gareth Hanna

Jamie McGonigle showed just why Crusaders wanted to sign him during the summer by putting them to the sword at Seaview in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

The Coleraine striker scored two deadly strikes in a five minute period midway through the second half as his side ran out 3-0 winners against the champions. He has now scored eight in his last six against the Crues.

Josh Carson had opened the scoring as Crusaders suffered their biggest domestic home defeat since Glenavon left with a 4-1 win in October 2014. Coleraine are now top of the table, ahead of Linfield on goal difference, with 11 points from their first five games.

The Crues bid for McGonigle at the end of the July, before they brought in Rory Patterson from Derry City but it was the Bannsiders' 22-year-old forward who underlined his position as one of the league's top marksmen.

Boss Oran Kearney reacted by calling him the best first-time finisher he's seen. McGonigle found the same bottom corner with two ruthless strikes, the first getting on the end of Carson's flicked header and the second the pick of the bunch, from outside the box.

Carson's opener was a follow-up from Eoin Bradley's well-struck effort. In truth, both that and McGonigle's first followed uncharacteristic defensive errors from the hosts.

At the other end, full-back BJ Burns went closest with a left-footed shot that was superbly tipped round the post by Chris Johns.

The night belonged to Coleraine and McGonigle, who's hoping it's the same story at the end of the season.

He told Sky Sports: "If I have a shot on target, 90% of the time it's going into the net. Across the keeper, low and hard, they're not really going to save it.

"We just want to go one better this year. Crusaders pipped us last season and congratulations to them but hopefully we're the league champions at the end of this season."

By contract, St Mirren, who opted not to appoint Coleraine manager Kearney as their boss after interviewing him this summer, tonight parted ways with the man they chose instead, Alan Stubbs. He spent less than three months in charge.

It's a funny old game.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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