Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine show their mettle to keep title rivals at arm's length

Warrenpoint Town 0-2 Coleraine

By Gareth McCullough

Coleraine edged another game closer to the title with a dogged 2-0 victory away to Warrenpoint last night, with Ian Parkhill and Darren McCauley getting the goals to keep them six points clear at the top.

In a pretty tepid first half, it was the visitors who had the better of the few chances created, but they failed to trouble Town keeper Jonny Parr.

The first opportunity arrived in the eighth minute when Martin Smith slid the ball through to Jamie McGonigle, but he shot straight at the keeper.

Conor McMenamin then had to be alert to make a good block on 21 minutes from Parkhill after he had been played in by McGonigle. At the other end, Warrenpoint's most potent outlet came through Martin Murray, and it was he who cut in from the left on 27 minutes but his shot from the edge of the area flew well over Chris Johns' crossbar.

As the half entered its latter stages, it was the Bannsiders who pushed for the opening goal, with Brad Lyons shooting low and wide from 25 yards before McGonigle side-footed wide.

McCauley then blazed over under pressure from Danny Wallace as the sides went in goalless at half-time, with Coleraine losing Lyons to injury. He was replaced by Josh Carson.

It took just three minutes of the second half for the deadlock to be broken and, while the Bannsiders' goal arrived via a deflection, it was deserved on the balance of play. The ball came to Parkhill 20 yards out and his shot looped up and over the helpless Parr to drop in.

They could have doubled their lead on 53 minutes when Smith found space on the left and, after Parr had saved his close-range effort, Carson looked as if he would side-foot into the empty net, but McMenamin got back to make a super clearance.

The hosts almost got back on level terms a minute after the hour mark when McMenamin's quick free-kick found Darren Murray, and the striker dropped his shoulder before curling an effort out of the reach of Johns but off the outside of the post.

Lorcan Forde was then denied by alert goalkeeping from Johns, while Martin Murray shot into the side-netting as the home side pushed for an equaliser.

Murray went close on 84 minutes when he shot wide, but the hosts just couldn't get that goal, and McCauley fired home Coleraine's second two minutes into stoppage time when he turned onto his left foot 18 yards out to net a superb low drive.

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