Belfast Telegraph

Super sub Parkhill lands crucial blow to break Comrades' hearts

Coleraine 2 Ballyclare Comrades 1

By Steve Jones

Ian Parkhill's 93rd-minute goal gave Coleraine a hard-fought 2-1 win over Ballyclare Comrades at The Showgrounds.

The Bluefin Sport Championship side made a strong start and threatened after seven minutes when Gary Donnelly turned at the edge of the area and dragged his effort narrowly wide.

On 17 minutes, the Comrades nearly took the lead in bizarre circumstances as Graham Crown's sliced clearance went inches over the bar.

From the resulting corner, the visitors made the breakthrough as Donnelly profited from close-range after his initial header was palmed away by Chris Johns.

Stephen Hughes' side were sensing a Cup upset and nearly added a second but Johns was alert to deny Jamie Willighan, before Bannsiders defender Gareth McConaghie made a timely block to prevent Thomas Robinson from getting a shot on goal.

Against the run of play, the Irish Cup holders found themselves level when Jamie McGonigle's long-range effort deceived Ballyclare keeper Kyle Rowe and hit the back of the net. A minute later, the same player was released by Brad Lyons but his effort trickled by the far post.

The home side started the second half on the front foot and almost forged ahead when Stephen O'Donnell's header was saved by Rowe, before Josh Carson failed to hit the target.

Coleraine fans thought they had scored just after the hour as Lyons' deflected effort looked certain to find the net, but the midfielder's shot hit the post. Minutes later, Darren McCauley beat three markers before curling an effort wide.

Oran Kearney blew a huge sigh of relief on 68 minutes when the unmarked Dean Youle's header was cleared off the line by the alert Carson.

Eoin Bradley was called from the bench on 66 minutes and should have given the Bannsiders the lead but he fired over from McGonigle's centre, before being denied by Rowe.

Rowe was beginning to frustrate Coleraine and he dived low to keep out Lyons' effort after the midfielder was cleverly spotted by Stephen Lowry.

However, Ballyclare suffered heartache at the end when McGonigle passed to Parkhill and the substitute found the bottom corner with a delightful effort.

COLERAINE: Johns, Harkin (Bradley, 66 mins), Lyons, McCauley (Parkhill, 80 mins), Lowry, Carson, Crown (Mullan, 76 mins), McConaghie, O'Donnell, Traynor, McGonigle.

Subs Not Used: Doherty, Douglas, Gawne.

BALLYCLARE COMRADES: Rowe, Wright, McQuitty, Dobbin, Gray, Johnston, Willighan (Tully, 81 mins), Robinson, Brown (Kane, 52 mins), Youle, Donnelly (McIlveen, 69 mins).

Subs Not Used: McWilliams, Trussell, Kirk.

Referee: Tony Clarke (Newtownabbey)

Belfast Telegraph

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