Causeway Chronicle

Late Shevlin strike as Bannsiders deliver Blues title blow

Linfield 2 Coleraine 2

Coleraine delivered a blow to Linfield’s title hopes at Windsor Park on Tuesday night.

The Blues now face an uphill task to stop Larne claiming a successive championship.

But with the in-form Bannsiders still to go to Inver Park, all may not yet be lost for the Blues.

It’s eight games unbeaten for Oran Kearney’s troops…a run which began with February’s 3-0 Showgrounds win over Linfield.

They snatched a 97th minute equaliser through Matthew Shevlin.

It was nothing more than they deserved.

Coleraine started impressively, finding plenty of space and knocking the ball about well.

Matthew Shevlin had the first opportunity after 14 minutes when he headed a Jack Scott cross straight at Chris Johns.

Shevlin had another header saved from Jamie Glackin’s 25th minute cross as the visitors continued to force the issue.

The impressive Alfie Gaston almost opened the scoring ten minutes before half time.

The midfielder latched onto a Glackin pass before breaking into the box and firing just over.

Linfield lacked creativity in the opening period and it was 39 minutes before they had their first clear sight on goal – Chris McKee heading Kirk Millar”s cross straight at Rory Brown.

Coleraine deservedly edged ahead sixty seconds before the break.

Josh Carson threaded a through ball to McGonigle who cooly slotted into the bottom corner of the net.

The Blues started with more intent and Millar wasn’t far away with a free kick after 50 minutes.

And two minutes later they were back on level terms.

Millar launched a cross from near the touchline and substitute Matthew Fitzpatrick glanced a header past Brown.

Five minutes later and Linfield were controversially in front.

Chris Shields converted from the penalty spot after referee. Christopher Morrison  originally awarded a free kick but then gave a penalty after consulting with his assistant.

Only a close range stop from Brown denied McKee pouncing on the hour mark.

Substitute Conor McKendry pulled a shot wide with 13 minutes from time as Oran Kearney’s outfit tried to recover from concealing  those two quick fire  goals.

Carson and substitute Lee Lynch had tame efforts in the closings stages.

But just when their efforts looked like being in vain, up popped Shevlin to head home a great Lynch cross on a dramatic night in the Premiership

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Maurice Bradley