Stephen Lowry and Ryan Mayse battle for the ball (©INPHO/Jonathan Porter)
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
Ten-man Coleraine twice came from behind to share the spoils with Ballymena United at the first derby of the season between the sides at The Showgrounds.
United moved in front after just seven minutes through Tony Kane who smashed a wonderful 25-yard left-foot drive beyond Chris Johns into the top corner.
And it got worse for the Bannsiders not long after when Eoin Bradley was dismissed by referee Ian McNabb for striking out at Jim Ervin.
But the Bannsiders rallied less than five minutes after that with a stunning Darren McCauley equaliser, striking the ball from around 25 yards to finish off a terrific run.
However, the Sky Blues restored their advantage just after the half-hour mark. An initial effort from Jonathan McMurray was well saved by Johns but, as the ball returned back into play, Andy McGrory was on hand to knock it back into the net.
David Jeffrey's side really should have added a third before the break when McMurray was denied by Johns' leg before the same player somehow fired into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.
Despite their numerical disadvantage Coleraine looked the more likely to find the net in the second half with Stephen Lowry heading off target from a good position while Jamie McGonigle curled an effort from outside the area onto the crossbar.
Ballymena came to rue their earlier missed opportunities when, with just over ten minutes remaining, home skipper Stephen O'Donnell grabbed the goal which earned Coleraine a point with a header from a McCauley corner.
Coleraine: Johns, Harkin, Douglas, McCauley, Lowry, Bradley, Burns, O'Donnell, Traynor, McGonigle, Canning subs Doherty (not used), Mullan (not used), McLaughlin (replaced McGonigle 89), Crown (replaced Douglas 61), Parkhill (replaced Traynor 77), Gawne (not used), Owens (not used)
Ballymena United: Ro. Glendinning, Kane, Addis, Whiteside, Mayse, McCullough, McGrory, Ervin, Lecky, Millar, McMurray subs McDermott (not used), Friel (not used), Knowles (replaced Kane 80), Faulkner (replaced Mayse 74), Balmer (not used), Winchester (replaced McCullough 54), Re. Glendinning (not used)
Referee: Ian McNabb