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We lacked a ruthless touch, admits McAree

Coleraine 1 Glenavon 1

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Tight affair: James Singleton clashes with Jamie McGonigle

Tight affair: James Singleton clashes with Jamie McGonigle

Tight affair: James Singleton clashes with Jamie McGonigle

Glenavon maintained their four-point gap on Coleraine as Niall Grace's second half thunderbolt earned the visitors a share of the spoils at The Showgrounds.

The Bannsiders shaded the first half and took the lead on 20 minutes as Eoin Bradley converted from close range after Johnny Tuffey initially denied Jamie Glackin.

In a match played under a severe wind, the Lurgan Blues made a bright start to the second period and were rewarded on 50 minutes as Niall Grace curled a delightful effort into the top corner.

The visitors should have taken the lead on 63 minutes as Jordan Jenkins was twice denied by the excellent Chris Johns, before the Bannsiders rallied late on with Ben Doherty, Josh Carson and Aaron Canning coming close to snatching all three points.

"We're slightly disappointed not to win the game," said Coleraine boss Rodney McAree. "We probably didn't do enough in the final third in the first half to work Johnny Tuffey.

"Our desire was very good, and obviously after the last two games against Glenavon it was important that we competed. In those other games we sort of threw the towel in and were over-run.

"There are a lot of positives for us to take out of it. You get it into your head that it's going to be one of those days when you score late on to win the match.

"We were unlucky on several occasions near the end, it was disappointing we didn't get the winner. But there are a lot of things we can take into the next game."

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton praised both sets of players for putting on an entertaining game in challenging conditions.

"I have to pay a massive compliment to both teams given the conditions here today," he added.

"I've been coming here for 17 or 18 years in my career but that's the worst conditions I've ever played in at The Showgrounds. I'm not saying it hasn't been worse at any other stage, but that's the worst I have ever seen it.

"The wind was absolutely horrendous and you don't feel it as bad when you're standing at the side compared to when you're out there on the pitch.

"People were clearing the ball and it was going back over their head and out for a corner."

He added: "We want to win every game, but it's important that the teams in and around you don't gain points on you.

"The draw means Coleraine didn't gain any points on us, so from that point of view it's good."

COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan (Douglas 82 mins), Lowry, E Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, Glackin, (Parkhill 82 mins), McGonigle, B Doherty, Edgar, Canning. Subs not used: M Doherty, O'Donnell, Owens, J Bradley, Moore.

GLENAVON: Tuffey, King, Marron, Grace, Daniels, Marshall, Hall (McCloskey 46 mins), Clingan, Murray, Singleton, Jenkins (Hamilton 71 mins). Subs not used: Donnelly, Harmon, Larmour, Norton, Sharkey.

Referee: Ross Dunlop

Match Rating: 7/10

Man of the Match: Ben Doherty.

Belfast Telegraph