Causeway Chronicle

Christmas Blues for Bannsiders

Linfield 2 Coleraine 1

Tis the season to be jolly but there was to be no festive cheer on a disappointing night for the fans who made the trip to Windsor Park tonight.

It was the league leaders who gave their supporters an early present as they bagged three points.

Coleraine more than matched their opponents for long spells but ultimately came up short.

It’s now one win in the league from the last 16 meetings between the teams.

And four years since a league victory at the Belfast venue.

As for this game at a windswept Windsor Park, two goals conceded from corners inside four minutes set Linfield on their way to full points.

Dean Jarvis had Coleraine’s first sighter just short of the quarter hour mark, firing over from distance.

Conor McKendry then clipped an effort into the roof of the net.

Dean Jarvis threatened again when he hit a volley over the top after 22 minutes.

It took Linfield until the 33rd minute for their first real opening but Rhys Annett volleyed Matthew Clarke’s cross wide.

Aodhan Doherty then forced Gareth Deane into a fine stop five minutes before the interval.

Other than that, the Blues offered little threat during the opening 45 minutes.

Coleraine almost made a dream start to the second half.

Andy Scott connected with a Dean Jarvis delivery 60 seconds after the restart but the ball smacked off the crossbar.

At the other end, Doherty volleyed wide after good work by Clarke and Kirk Millar.

Linfield edged ahead on 66 minutes.

Clarke floated over a corner and Euan East headed home from close range.

It was another set piece that handed Linfield their second four minutes later.

Clarke was again the provider with a corner and Annett pounced to hammer home his fourth goal in three matches.

It took a fine stop from Deane to deny Kyle McClean – and an even better fingertip save to keep out a Matthew Fitzpatrick header – as the Blues threatened to add to their tally.

Substitute Andrew Mitchell offered hopes of a comeback five minutes from time as he popped up at the back post to turn home McKendry’s free kick.

The striker also glanced a McKendry cross narrowly past the far post in injury time.

But there was to be no grandstand finale as the Blues held on for victory.

Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson