Coleraine 2
Ballymena United 1
League (NIFL Premiership)


2 - 1

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, December 26th, 2015
Coleraine Showgrounds
Attendance: 2,120
3:00 PM Kick-off

Jamie McGonigle (19)
Jamie McGonigle (61)
David Cushley (31)

Team Managers
Oran Kearney Glenn Ferguson

Starting Eleven
Michael Doherty
Steven Douglas
Howard Beverland
Rodney Brown
Lyndon Kane
Ruaidhri Higgins
Ruairi Harkin
James McLaughlin
Adam Mullan
Brad Lyons
Jamie McGonigle
Alan Blayney .18
Patrick McNally .4
Gareth Rodger
Tony Kane .2
Jim Ervin .21
Stephen McBride .3
Allan Jenkins .10
Eoin Kane .15
Gary Thompson .7
Darren Henderson .9
David Cushley .11

Ian Parkhill
Darren McCauley
Neil McCafferty
Sammy Morrow
John Watt
Gavin Taggart .8
Matthew Ferguson .19
Nathan Hanley .24
Matthew Shevlin .16
Stewart Nixon .32

Ian Parkhill for Brad Lyons (64)
Darren McCauley for Jamie McGonigle (84)
Stewart Nixon for Patrick McNally (64)
Gavin Taggart for Gary Thompson (75)
Matthew Shevlin for Darren Henderson (75)

James McLaughlin (36)
Michael Doherty (68)
Stephen McBride (45)
Jim Ervin (75)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Ross Dunlop (Referee)

Match Report

COLERAINE took the three points and bragging rights from today's Boxing Day derby game at Ballycastle Road.

In front of a packed out Coleraine Showgrounds, the hosts won a corner in the 2nd minute of the game, but it came to nothing. Minutes later Cushley hit a 45 yard shot on the volley well wide of the mark. On 10 minutes James McLaughlin met a Ruaidhri Higgins cross but headed over the roof of the net. With 17 minutes on the clock McLaughlin sent a pass through to Jamie McGonigle, but Alan Blayney was equal to his shot. 2 minutes later McGonigle put Coleraine ahead after rounding Blayney.

As the home side kept the pressure up, Bradley Lyons turned and shot but Blayney saved. Just before the 25 minute mark McLaughlin played the ball to Higgins but he watched as his effort went wide. As the game reached the half hour point Jim Ervin got to the by-line and whipped a ball across to Darren Henderson but Michael Doherty made the save. Moments later David Cushley sent a right footed effort towards the goal and it nestled nicely in the net to level the scores.

5 minutes before the break McGonigle had another chance but he headed over.

It was a tentative start to the second half as Blayney had to be alert to tip a shot over the bar, and Darren Henderson had an effort on target in the 50th minute but it was stopped before it reached the net. Shortly afterwards Coleraine striker Rodney Brown sent a ball across the box but nobody could connect with it. This was followed by a good run from Lyons but his shot didn't live up to expectations and missed the target.

United had a penalty shout turned down in the 55th minute as he looked to have been clipped by Harkin, but referee Ross Dunlop waved play on. At the other end Brown had another chance but the goal was prevented by a last ditch tackle. Glenn Ferguson then took off Paddy McNally and replaced him with Stewart Nixon to make only his second appearance for the first squad. After the hour mark had just passed sub Ian Parkhill crossed the ball to Brown who headed it back to Jamie McGonigle to grab his second goal of the game to put the hosts ahead again.

Just 2 minutes later McGonigle had a chance to seal a hat-trick as Blayney pulled out a magnificent save. On 68 minutes Coleraine keeper Doherty was booked after coming out and cleaning Allan Jenkins. With 20 minutes left Tony Kane sent a free kick into the wall and the Bannsiders broke away ending with McLaughlin dragging his shot wide of the goal. In the next attack McLaughlin put McGonigle through, forcing Blayney to pull off another fine save.

In the 76th minute Coleraine won a free kick 25 yards out and Harkin somehow nearly hit the corner flag with it. With less than 5 minutes left of normal time United were on the attack as Stewart Nixon ran towards the box but, even though he appeared to be fouled, the ref waved play on. Alan Blayney, having already came to the rescue on many occasions throughout the game, once again had to be ready to save from Higgins in the 87th minute.
The last action of the game came as United won a free kick deep into injury time but it came to nothing and Coleraine took the points and the bragging rights.

Match report written by Paul Irwin

Squad Statistics (as at December 26th, 2015)

2015-2016 All Time
Alan Blayney (GK)34 7 - 45 -
Jim Ervin30 261612
Gareth Rodger21 151151
Tony Kane28 20117310
Stephen McBride32 10 - 68 -
Patrick McNally21 71161
Gary Thompson25 22313517
Allan Jenkins34 27718739
Eoin Kane19 111191
Darren Henderson29 1828123
David Cushley26 271222661
Gavin Taggart (sub)31 8 - 1666
Matthew Shevlin (sub)17 204245
Stewart Nixon (sub)18 1 - 2 -

League Table (as at December 26th, 2015)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 21 16 4 1 34 52
2. Cliftonville 21 13 5 3 13 44
3. Linfield 22 13 4 5 22 43
4. Coleraine 22 13 3 6 9 42
5. Glenavon 22 12 5 5 22 41
6. Glentoran 22 9 6 7 2 33
7. BALLYMENA UTD 22 6 4 12 -14 22
8. Ballinamallard Utd 22 4 5 13 -13 17
9. Dungannon 21 4 4 13 -13 16
10. Carrick Rangers 19 3 6 10 -14 15
11. Warrenpoint Town 21 1 3 17 -37 6

* - Table split into two divisions of six.