Belfast Telegraph

We knew he would score: Coleraine boss backs McLaughlin after injury return

Net gains: James McLaughlin is congratulated by Coleraine team-mate Steven Douglas after finding the target in the Irish Cup
Net gains: James McLaughlin is congratulated by Coleraine team-mate Steven Douglas after finding the target in the Irish Cup

By Steve Jones

Holders Coleraine eased their way into the sixth round of the Irish Cup after a routine 2-0 win over H&W Welders at The Showgrounds.

In a low-key first half, the deadlock was finally broken on 42 minutes when Alexander Gawne's effort deflected off Chris Morrow and into the net.

The Bannsiders spurned several opportunities after the break and were nearly made to pay for their poor finishing when Scott Davidson rattled the post for the visitors.

However, the home side secured a sixth round date with Dergview when James McLaughlin came off the bench and cleverly lobbed Ryan Brown on 74 minutes.

Speaking after the game, Coleraine boss Rodney McAree was delighted to see McLaughlin make it four goals in as many outings after returning from injury.

"Today was job done and we move on into the next round," he said.

"It wasn't the prettiest of matches. I thought the first half was a non-event to be honest, we were poor and struggled to get up to the levels that we needed.

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"Thankfully we got a goal through Alex to go 1-0 up. I thought we were more in control and played better in the second half despite them hitting the post.

"That was maybe the little scare that we needed and James came off the bench to score his fourth goal in as many games which was great to see.

"We were standing on the sideline and I thought the front two were better in the second half but we always felt James would score if we could get him on the pitch."

The Bannsiders are also making plans without winger Darren McCauley, who has been placed on the transfer list after rejecting a new deal at the club.

The 27-year-old previously said he would consider a return to former club Derry City if the opportunity arose but Crusaders have expressed an interest.

The Candystripes have already recruited McCauley's former Coleraine team-mate Ciaron Harkin in the January window.

Welders manager Norman Kelly believes Saturday's clash would have been different had Davidson's strike found the net instead of the woodwork.

"Hitting the post at 1-0 was a game changer," he said.

"Who knows what could have happened after that if it had gone in, because we have good quality across the pitch too.

"We brought in a couple of young players too as we had nothing to lose and they did very well.

"I'm pleased with the day apart from the result, but there are not too many teams who are going to enjoy coming to Coleraine."

COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan, Doherty (Edgar 46 mins), Douglas, Canning, Carson, Lowry, Glackin (Gawne 31 mins), McGonigle, Bradley (McLaughlin 71 mins), Parkhill. Subs not used: Doherty, O'Donnell, McConaghie, Whiteside.

H&W WELDERS: Brown, Hammill, Armstrong, Harris (Hall 87 mins), McMillan, Deans (Grierson 78 mins), Davidson, Graham (McIlmail 70 mins), Arthurs, Morrow, Dornan. Subs not used: Bolton, Craig.

Man of the Match: Alexander Gawne.

Match Rating: 5/10

Referee: Andrew Davey

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