NIFL Premiership

Coleraine 0–0 Cliftonville 

COLERAINE and Cliftonville shared the spoils after a goalless draw at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon. 

The best chances fell in second half as Eoin Bradley struck the bar within two minutes of coming off the bench and Lyndon Kane and Gareth Deane both denied Jonny Addis from a corner late-on. 

Reds boss Paddy McLaughlin felt the game was entertaining for a 0-0 and the result was fair in the end. 

“I’m sure it was entertaining for a 0-0,” McLaughlin reflected. 

“I think it was an entertaining game, both sides went at right throughout the match. They’ve hit the bar and I’m sure they’ll argue they could have won it, but their ’keeper has made a brilliant save at the end and we’d a chance from a free-kick too. Both sides could argue that could have won it, but I think a draw is the fair result in the end.”

McLaughlin made three changes from last weekend’s defeat at Windsor Park. Luke McNicholas came in for his league debut and there were also starts for Daniel Kearns and Chris Gallagher after injury, with Declan Dunne, Conor McDermott and Chris Curran all dropping to the bench. 

McNicholas’ league debut almost got off to the worst possible start when his scuffed clearance inside of 20 seconds hit Paddy Kelly and Matthew Shevlin rushed onto the loose ball, but the on-loan Sligo goalkeeper retrieved himself. 

Jamie Glackin with Kris Lowe

Jamie Glackin with Kris Lowe

It was an edgy opening quarter and on 15 minutes Jamie McDonagh’s cross landed to Levi Ives on the bye-line and Ives cut back to Joe Gormley whose shot was scrambled behind for a corner, which was gathered by Deane from Ives cross. 

The visitors created another opportunity when Daniel Kearns played a one-two with Joe Gormley, but the midfielder made a hash of the subsequent effort. 

Coleraine were next to threaten after Conor McKendry went down under the challenge of Ives, he failed to take advantage of the set-piece however and scooped it high over the bar. 

At the other end, Jonny Addis glanced wide from Jamie McDonagh’s free-kick while McKendry shot straight down the throat of McNicholas. 

Both sides had their best opportunities before the break, first a free-kick from Jamie Glackin dropped in the area and a low drive from Conor McKendry was held onto at the second attempt by Luke McNicholas. 

Then Joe Gormley tried his luck from inside the area and Stephen O’Donnell deflected it behind for a corner which came to nothing as it remained scoreless at the break. 

Kris Lowe had to bundle a low Conor McKendry cross clear inside the first few minutes of the second half, while at the other end Jamie McDonagh provided a cross but Joe Gormley was unable to meet it and test Gareth Deane. 

Josh Carson with Jamie McDonagh

Josh Carson with Jamie McDonagh

Just before the hour-mark, Ryan Curran tried to float in a dangerous cross with Stephen O’Donnell intervening. 

Oran Kearney decided to introduce Eoin Bradley after the hour mark and the 37-year-old almost made an instant impact. 

Chris Gallagher was caught in possession and Josh Carson led the charge and slipped in Bradley whose shot crashed off the bar with McNicholas beaten. 

The best chance fell to Cliftonville inside the final quarter of an hour as Jamie McDonagh’s corner was met by Jonny Addis whose header was scrambled to safety by Lyndon Kane on the line with the follow-up pounced upon by Gareth Deane. 

Both had had late chances from the set-piece. Eoin Bradley lined up a long attempt from range, but it scaled the away stand and in injury-time at the other Levi ives crashed one into the wall and it scrambled away as both sides shared the spoils. 

COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, Brown, McKendry, Lowry, Carson (Jarvis 79’), O’Donnell, Glackin (Wilson 83’), Traynor, Kelly (Bradley 61’), Shevlin (Shevlin 79’). 

CLIFTONVILLE: McNicholas, Lowe, Addis, Turner, Ives, Kearns (O’Neill 81’), Gallagher (C Curran 69’), Donnelly, R Curran, McDonagh (McDermott 81’), Gormley.