Darren McCauley (56)

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Darren McCauley celebrates scoring Coleraine's winner (©INPHO/Jonathan Porter)

McCAULEY STUNNER KEEPS BANNSIDERS IN TITLE HUNT

Coleraine ended the season unbeaten at home with a derby defeat of Ballymena United to keep their title ambitions very much on track.

The Bannsiders might have seized the early advantage when, on seven minutes, Stephen Dooley released Jamie McGonigle but his effort was saved by Ross Glendinning.

Coleraine continued to press with Darren McCauley playing Eoin Bradley to fire just over from the edge of the area.

Bradley then turned provider to find McGonigle who, in turn, flicked the ball off for McCauley but he could only blaze over.

And again Oran Kearney's side pushed forward with Dooley and McCauley combining to release Lyndon Kane to send a shot just wide.

However, the deadlock was eventually broken on 56 minutes when the ball fell for McCauley to unleash a terrific low effort from distance past Glendinning just inside the near post.

It could have been 2-0 on 70 minutes when McCauley combined with Aaron Traynor only for the latter to send his shot wide.

United might have snatched a point right at the end of normal time when Tony Kane send a free-kick from some 25-yards into the side netting.

Coleraine finished the game with ten men when Josh Carson was shown a straight red card by referee Keith Kennedy for a 92nd minute challenge on substitute William Faulkner.

BBC Sport NI coverage

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Harkin, McCauley, Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, O'Donnell, Traynor, McGonigle, Dooley subs Mullan (not used), Douglas (not used), Smith (not used), Burns (replaced Bradley 64), Parkhill (replaced McGonigle 73)

Ballymena United: Glendinning, Kane, Owens, McAlorum, Friel, Braniff, Burns, Shevlin, Ervin, McCaffrey, Quigley subs Flynn (replaced Burns 64), Faulkner (replaced McCaffrey 64), Millar (replaced Braniff 73), McCracken (not used), Nolan (not used)

Referee: Keith Kennedy

Attendance: 2440

Tags:  Ballymena United  Coleraine