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Derby despair for Coleraine

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Coleraine suffered a losing start to the new season on Friday night.

The Bannsiders went down 1-0 to local rivals Ballymena United who were reduced to ten men just before half time.
A socially distanced home support were left frustrated as their favourites fell to their fierce rivals.

Chances were few and far between in a hard-fought first half until new United signing Shay McCartan tested Coleraine ‘keeper Gareth Deane on 26 minutes.

Sixty seconds later the visitors scored the decisive goal when Kofi Balmer was left unmarked to head home Steven McCullough’s corner.

Two minutes before half time, Ballymena were reduced to ten men when Joshua Kelly was sent off for a challenge on Stewart Nixon.

Coleraine created a few openings in the second period with the extra man advantage.

James McLaughlin fired over from long range on the hour mark and blazed over again two minutes later after Jamie Glackin’s shot from a Stewart Nixon had been parried by goalkeeper Ross Glendinning.

The Bannsiders thought they had leveled on 65 minutes but McLaughlin’s shot struck the post and Sky Blues’ Trai Hume made a stunning goal-line clearance to block Josh Carson’s follow-up.

Stephen Lowry then had a chance on 67 minutes when he collected a throw-in from Nixon but blasted his shot over the crossbar from close range.
But their efforts proved to be in vain as a well organised ten-man Ballymena held on for victory.

Coleraine: Deane, Kane, Doherty, Lowry, McLaughlin, Carson, McCongahie, Tweed, O’Donnell, Glackin, Nixon. Substitutes – Gallagher, Douglas, Wilson, Parkhill for Nixon 84, Allen for O’Donnell 69, Tosh, McLean

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About author
Coleraine man, married to Tracy. Former Chronicle Sports Editor and writer for the old Saturday Night sports paper and Belfast Telegraph/Sunday Life. Has travelled and reported on Coleraine FC on several of their European ties over the years.
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