As Storm Caroline hit the Irish shores over the weekend (no more Neil Diamond jokes, please!) the local fixture list was hit hard! Only two of the six scheduled games took place, Coleraine and Crusaders taking full advantage to push themselves away from the chasing pack.
Coleraine 1-0 Dungannon Swifts
After some early chances for both sides it was the league leaders who eventually took the lead thanks to a long-range effort from Darren McCauley that left Stuart Addis with no chance. Goalscorer McCauley proved himself to be a consistent threat in the second half as the sleet fell from the sky, cutting inside onto his right foot on several occasions but he just couldn’t manage to double his tally for the day. Coleraine survived a late scare when the tricky Ryan Mayse had his left footed shot fumbled by Chris Johns but the Coleraine stopper gathered the ball at the second attempt. Coleraine’s success story continues as they maintain a lead of 6 points at the top meanwhile Dungannon lost the chance to gain ground on Ballymena as the Swifts remain on 20 points in 8th place.
Warrenpoint Town 2-3 Crusaders
Crusaders had to battle back from a goal down at half-time to secure the victory against Point. Crusaders were dominant in the opening half hour of the game and finally made that count on 28 minutes when Paul Heatley latched onto Billy Joe Burns’ cross to poke the ball into the back of the net. The lead lasted less than 10 minutes when Martin Murray pounced to slot home the rebound after Stephen Murray’s header came off the foot of the post. It was Darren Murray who gave Point the lead just 3 minutes later, rising high to head in Stephen Murray’s shot that was parried high into the air by Sean O’Neill. It wasn’t until 66 minutes that Crusaders got themselves back on level terms when Jordan Forsythe’s well-hit volley squeezed between the legs of Jonathan Parr. Crusaders completed their comeback with 17 minutes left to play when Gavin Whyte crossed for a trademark Jordan Owens header. Crusaders go solely into 2nd place and maintain the gap of 6 points from Coleraine. Warrenpoint gave up the chance to climb above Ards and remain in 10th place, just 3 points above the relegation playoff spot.
Stephen Dooley returns to Coleraine for a third spell
The news was broken that Stephen Dooley will return to the Showgrounds on an initial 6-month deal. Dooley comes fresh from helping Cork City secure a League and FAI Cup double this season past. A massive boost for the Bannsiders as they look to keep the momentum going in their title bid.