Belfast Telegraph

Top six a long way off for Glenavon as Bannsiders draw small comfort

Coleraine 1- 1 Glenavon

By Keith Thomas

Glenavon maintained their six-point advantage over Coleraine in the fight for a place in the top six with 1-1 draw at the Showgrounds.

The Bannsiders knew they had to beat Gary Hamilton's men and close the gap on them in the table to keep their own top-six ambitions alive, but they fell behind early on to a terrific Kevin Braniff free kick.

Coleraine got back on level terms right on half time thanks to a Neil McCafferty penalty, but the hosts couldn't find a crucial winner.

There was only seven minutes on the clock when Braniff curled in a delightful free kick from just outside the box. The classy midfielder gave Michael Doherty no chance from the dead ball after David Ogilby had been penalised for a high boot on Kyle Neill.

Coleraine's best opportunity in the opening 20 minutes was a glancing header from Matthew Snoddy, which failed to trouble James McGrath.

Coleraine almost grabbed a goal back on 39 minutes as Ruaidhri Higgins' long ball caused confusion between Winkie Murphy and McGrath, as they dallied Joe McNeill nipped in between them to lift the ball over the keeper, Murphy though recovered to hook the ball off the line.

Coleraine did draw level right on half time. A clever through ball by Lyons fed the onrushing Ian Parkhill who was sent sprawling by McGrath. The goalkeeper picked up a yellow card and could do nothing to stop McCafferty's spot kick.

Substitute Declan O'Brien almost put Glenavon back in front again just after the hour mark with an audacious lob. He picked up Andy Kilmartin's through ball some 30 yards out and with the outside of the boot beat Doherty but could only find the roof of the net.

At the other end Parkhill fed McNeill in the box, but he blazed over from a tight angle.

Coleraine: Doherty, Canning, Ogilby, Douglas (Kane 78 mins), Mullan, Lyons (Browne 87 mins), Higgins, McCafferty, McNeill (McGinty 76 mins), Snoddy, Parkhill.

Glenavon: McGrath, Marshall, Murphy, Dillon, Singleton, Caldwell, Martyn, Kilmartin, Neill, Bradley (O'Brien 58 mins), Braniff.

Referee: Colin Burns (Newtownabbey).

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