McCauley bags winner to fire Bannsiders clear at top
Coleraine 2 Warrenpoint 1
Darren McCauley's second half strike sent Coleraine top of the Danske Bank Premiership as the Bannsiders saw off 10-man Warrenpoint Town 2-1 at the Showgrounds. Jamie McGonigle opened the scoring for the hosts, while Darren Murray played both hero and villain for Warrenpoint as he scored his fourth goal in as many games but his second half sending off proved pivotal as Coleraine took control thereafter.
Oran Kearney's side are the only team so far with four wins from four, and it was they who came out of the blocks faster.
They got their reward when McGonigle sprinted onto the end of Eoin Bradley's floated ball to the back post and poked home under the onrushing Jonny Parr for a 16th minute lead.
Not deterred by the early setback, Warrenpoint pushed for an immediate response, and Murray had a good effort palmed away by Chris Johns before he levelled proceedings with the last play of the first half.
It wasn't the prettiest build-up, the ball pinballing to the striker in the box, but his crisp volley was lasered into the bottom corner beyond the helpless keeper.
Six minutes after the restart his game was over, however, when a clumsy challenge on Coleraine midfielder Brad Lyons yielded a second yellow card - he had earlier been cautioned for dissent -and then the inevitable red.
While it wasn't completely one-way traffic from there, the man advantage had Coleraine on the front foot, and they thought they had a goal when Bradley bundled home, only for the linesman to call for offside.
But they did retake the lead in strikingly similar fashion to their first goal, this time Ian Parkhill the provider for McCauley at the back post in the 69th minute.
The Bannsiders had another effort ruled out for Bradley being offside, while Warrenpoint had Neil McCafferty curl a late free-kick inches over.
But ultimately the 10-men of the visitors couldn't muster enough of a fightback to prevent Coleraine from picking up the three points and going top.
COLERAINE: Johns, Whiteside (Traynor, 78 mins), Douglas, O'Donnell, Mullan, Carson, Parkhill, Lyons, McCauley; Bradley, McGonigle (McCready, 79 mins). Unused subs: Doherty, Kirk, Ferris.
WARRENPOINT: Parr, Foster, McCreery, Moan, Lyttle, Mackle (TJ Murray, 62 mins), Forde (M Murray, 83 mins), McKenna, McCafferty, D Murray, McMenamin (Roohi, 62 mins). Unused subs: Blayney, Lynch.
Man of the match: Jamie McGonigle
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)