Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon assistant slams referee 'shocker' after Coleraine Showgrounds stalemate

Coleraine 1-1 Glenavon

Early bath: Mark Sykes gets his marching orders for a poor tackle
Early bath: Mark Sykes gets his marching orders for a poor tackle

By Jonathan McNabb

A debteable red card, a manager sent off, a missed penalty, excellent goalkeeping and a fantastic free-kick provided the talking points as Coleraine and Glenavon shared the spoils at The Showgrounds.

In reality, it will feel like two valuable points dropped for the Bannsiders as missed opportunities and an inspired performance by Jonny Tuffey means they now trail Crusaders by five points.

The visitors - who had boss Gary Hamilton sent to the stands before Mark Sykes was dismissed by referee Ian McNabb for a two-footed tackle on Eoin Bradley - reflected ruefelly on the afternoon, too, with assistant manager Paul Millar blasting: "I'm disappointed with some of the decisions which went against us.

"If we had lost the game you could say that was sour grapes, but we came down and got a really good point here.

"Our manager has been sent off, the fourth official came over to him but didn't ask him to go back into the technical area, he pushed him twice, one of our players witnessed it. We had a penalty given against us, from where I was I thought it was dubious.

"We had a man sent off for a tackle when there was a worse tackle made against us earlier. Andy Hall has a broken nose and James Singleton looks to have sustained a serious ankle injury, but we have a man sent off. The referee had a shocker."

Coleraine were awarded a first-half penalty when Jamie McGonigle hit the deck under little pressure from Caolan Marron, but Ciaron Harkin saw his spot-kick turned away by Tuffey.

Andy Hall would give Glenavon the lead when he scrambled home from close range and, after Bradley netted a fine free-kick, it was the Bannsiders - handed a numerical advantage by Sykes' red card - who came closest to winning it before having to make do with just a draw.

"Missed chances and top goalkeeping by Tuffey means we have to settle for a point," said boss Oran Kearney.

"It was a brilliant game and end-to-end, but I think on chances created, it was disappointing not to match the performance with three points. We have 30 points to play for and there will be a lot of twists and turns left.

"I've said to the players that we've only dropped two points and you can hear about Crusaders going five points clear, but we've only drawn a game and we move onto the next one.

"The job for us in the next 10 games is to pick up as many three points as we can, and if and when Crusaders drop points, we need to make sure we are the first team they see and the gap closes."

COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Harkin, McCauley, Smith, Bradley, Carson (Parkhill, 89 mins), McConaghie, O'Donnell, Traynor, McGonigle. Unused subs: Doherty, Mullan, Douglas, Ogilby.

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Burns, Marshall, Mitchell (Norton, 89 mins), Hall (Griffin, 71 mins), Sykes, Marron, Clingan, Cooper, Murray, Singleton (Doyle, 77 mins). Unused subs: Foley, McGrory.

Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)

Man of the match: Jonny Tuffey

Match rating: 8/10

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