Ciaron Harkin celebrates after giving Coleraine an early lead (©INPHO/Freddie Parkinson)
Saturday, 02 December 2017
Coleraine swept to another victory with this defeat of Carrick Rangers at The Showgrounds to stay five points clear of the chasing pack at the top.
The Bannsiders needed just three minutes to open the scoring when the home defence failed to clear their lines after Jamie McGonigle touched the ball back for Ciaron Harkin to fire home.
However, Carrick levelled on 12 minutes courtesy of Mark Edgar's curling free-kick past Chris Johns into the top corner from the edge of the area, awarded for a foul on Martin Maybin.
And Carrick might have edged into the lead soon after only for Darren Larmour's header from Edgar's cross to be cleared by Aaron Traynor.
Coleraine looked to regain the advantage themselves, creating a series of chances through Martin Smith, Brad Lyons and Darren McCauley before, in first half stoppage time, they did grab a second goal when Lyons headed into the bottom corner after meeting a corner.
Both sides came close to finding the net early in the second half. For Coleraine McGonigle headed into the side netting at the back post while, at the other end soon after, Chris Johns did well to dive low to his right to keep out Gavin Taggart's effort from 25 yards.
Lyons almost made it 3-1 to Coleraine just after the hour after he blocked an Edgar clearance before turning the ball onto the post.
But it was 3-1 on 73 minutes when, once more, the ball came off Lyons onto the crossbar with McGonigle tapping home into the unguarded net.
Then, remarkably, a couple of minutes after that, Lyons struck the woodwork for a third time with a shot from inside the area.
Carrick Rangers: Doherty, Chapman, Edgar, Larmour, Gage, McAllister, Roy, Hassin, Taggart, Smith, Maybin subs McMullan (not used), Morrow (not used), Smyth (replaced Roy 44), Suarez (replaced Maybin 62), Mooney (replaced McAllister 70)
Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, Ogilby, McCauley, Smith, Carson, McConaghie, Lyons, Traynor, McGonigle subs Douglas (not used), Kee (not used), Parkhill (replaced Smith 62), Whiteside (replaced McCauley 89), McCready (replaced Carson 86)
Referee: Lee Tavinder
|Bradley Lyons||45 +3|