Gareth McConaghie (72)


Coleraine players celebrate with Rodney McAree after Gareth McConaghie scores (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)


Gareth McConaghie grabbed the winner for Coleraine over Crusaders at The Showgrounds to claim a first three points for new boss Rodney McAree.

The game got off to a quiet start with the first real effort of note not arriving until the 25th minute when Chris Johns did well to keep out a Rory Patterson effort.

And Crusaders came closer with five minutes of the first half left when Paul Heatley turned the ball onto the underside of the bar and although Kyle Owens did tap the rebound home he was ruled out offside.

It continued to be a game of few clear cut chances after the break, although Jamie McGonigle did curl an effort just wide before the hour.

But what proved to be the winner came on 72 minutes when McConaghie delivered a daisy cutter of a free-kick from distance past Sean O'Neill just inside the post.

Then, as the game moved into the final ten minutes, Stephen O'Donnell failed to find the target with a header from a corner.

Crusaders rallied towards the end with both David Cushley and Philip Lowry failing to make the most of close range efforts before, in the closing moments, Cushley was denied again by a great Johns save.

Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, McCauley, Lowry, McLaughlin, Carson, McConaghie, Burns, O'Donnell, Canning subs Doherty (not used), Douglas (not used), Crown (not used), McGonigle (replaced McLaughlin 31), Gawne (replaced Burns 49), Owens (not used), Whiteside (not used)

Crusaders: O'Neill, McChrystal, Beverland, Ward, Glackin, Forsythe, K. Owens, Snoddy, Heatley, Clarke, Patterson subs Doherty (not used), Lowry (replaced Clarke 71), Cushley (replaced Heatley 61), Caddell (not used), Holden (not used), Ruddy (not used), Brown (replaced McChrystal 78)

Referee: Andrew Davey

Attendance: 2069

Tags:  Coleraine  Crusaders