Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine stayed cool to bounce back from Windsor turnover, says Kearney

Coleraine 4-1 Ards

By Jonathan McNabb

Coleraine recovered from their first defeat of the season against Linfield as Gareth McConaghie's double helped the Bannsiders comfortably defeat Ards at The Showgrounds.

According to Coleraine boss Oran Kearney, there had been no jitters in the changing room following Saturday's turnover at Windsor Park.

He said: "There were panic stations across the country after our loss on Saturday, but not in our changing room. I thought our performance was right on the money and we sustained it for the entire 90 minutes."

The performance would indicate that he's right. After Craig McMillen fired an early effort over the bar for the visitors, Coleraine seized control.

In the 14th minute, a lovely move released the run of Josh Carson and his cutback evaded a vital touch from Ian Parkhill.

A minute later, Darren McCauley's rasping effort from distance forced Aaron Hogg into a save and, from the resulting corner, McCauley's set piece struck the post with the rebound landing to McConaghie, who headed home.

In the 28th minute, the home side threatened once again from a corner as McCauley's delivery found an unmarked Stephen O'Donnell. The defender hit a crisp effort at goal, but the shot was cleared over the crossbar.

McCauley - who already has 10 goals for the campaign - nearly added another in spectacular fashion as his scissor kick attempt flashed wide.

Ards were looking to catch the league leaders on the counter-attack but were under severe pressure and conceded a crucial second on the stroke of half-time. Aaron Traynor was adjudged to have been fouled on the by-line and Harkin's delivery found McConaghie who nodded home - much to Colin Nixon's disgust at the award of the free-kick.

The visitors were looking for a way back and created their best chance in the 47th minute as Reece Glendinning's snapshot was easily gathered by Johns.

However, the three points were secured on 63 minutes as McGonigle latched onto a through-ball and found Carson.

The former Northern Ireland international turned his marker before arrowing an effort past Hogg for his sixth goal of the season. Ards looked for a consolation goal and Craig McMillen's header was held by Johns, before the stopper was again called into action to keep out Glendinning's free-kick.

Coleraine were to add further gloss to the scoreline on 76 minutes as they bagged a fourth. Carson had a shot saved before the ball landed at the feet of Martin Smith who notched his first goal since his move from Kilmarnock.

Smith should have added his second in the 85th minute as he received the ball inside the penalty area, but his weak effort was cleared off the line.

Ards were to find the net on 88 minutes as Michael McLellan struck the crossbar, before the substitute received the ball from Ben Arthurs for a simple tap-in.

There was to be a late chance for Joe McCready but he couldn't find the target as Coleraine ran out worthy winners and stretched their lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership to five points.

COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan (Whiteside, 66 mins), Traynor, Harkin, McConaghie, O'Donnell, McCauley (Kee, 79 mins), Carson, McGonigle (McCready, 66 mins), Smith, Parkhill. Unused subs: Douglas, Ogilby.

ARDS: Hogg, Glendinning, Ruddy, Elebert (Byers, 24 mins), Taylor, Cherry (Keke, 46 mins (McLellan, 74 mins)), Tommons, McMillen, Kelly, Arthurs, Frazer. Unused subs: Hanley, Mitchell.

Man of the Match: Gareth McConaghie

Match Rating: 7/10

Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)

Belfast Telegraph

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