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Caught Cole

Cliftonville 1-2 Coleraine

Cliftonville were hit by a last minute sucker-punch as Coleraine stole all three points from this afternoon’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter at Solitude.

Trailing when substitute Aaron Burns put the Bannsiders in front, the Reds levelled courtesy of a deflected Joe Gormley free-kick only for Burns to strike again as the clock hit 90 minutes.

Both sides saw a host of glorious chances go to waste throughout an entertaining clash before those three goals in the final 18 minutes ended with Coleraine on top.

Things might have been different had the hosts been able to make the most of a number of early openings, with Gormley twice trying his luck with ambitious attempts from distance before the base of the post stopped Chris Curran from capping an exquisite passing sequence with a goal.

Coleraine had not been without chances of their own during the same period and saw Jamie McGonigle denied by Richard Brush, while Eoin Bradley put a lob over the bar ahead of Brush once again coming to Cliftonville’s rescue after Aaron Donnelly had been robbed by Josh Carson.

Ryan Curran nodded wide of the mark at the other end before Liam Bagnall’s goal-line clearance kept Graham Crown out and Brush reacted well to deny McGonigle again in addition to Darren McCauley fizzing a blast across the face of goal and wide.

The Reds should have opened the scoring early in the second-half when Conor McMenamin failed to make a clean connection with his header at the back post ahead of the Bannsiders passing up an even more golden opportunity to break the deadlock.

Carson seized on hesitation from Donnelly to tee up McGonigle but, after he had been held up by Brush, his eventual shot was blocked on the line by Levi Ives, with Burns’ poor touch allowing Brush to seize possession before the substitute could get a shot away.

Burns would make no mistake at the next time of asking, however, when he slammed in from close range after McGonigle’s miscue from a McCauley cross had fallen his way inside the box.

Cliftonville didn’t take long to level and a grandstand finale was in store after Stephen Lowry inadvertently nodded Gormley’s whipped free-kick past his own keeper.

Just as they had done from the first whistle, both teams maintained a positive outlook in their determination to win the game and it was the visitors who would claim the decisive goal when, after isolating Donnelly on the flank, McGonigle steered the ball into the area, where Lowry’s delicate touch teed Burns up for a well-taken strike into the top corner.

Cliftonville: Brush, McGovern, Ives, C Curran, R Curran, Bagnall, Catney, Gormley, J Donnelly, McMenamin, A Donnelly. Subs: Neeson, White, McConnell, Lavery (R Curran, 82 mins), Maguire (McMenamin, 69 mins).

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