COLERAINE conceded a late equaliser to drop two points in a scrappy encounter against Glenavon at The Showgrounds.
Coleraine showed more invention, but found it difficult to impose themselves on the game, in part down to heavy pitch, suffering the effects of a week of rain, but still created the two best chances of the opening exchanges.
First, Johnny Black picked out Curtis Allen with a pinpoint free kick from deep and the striker headed over the bar. Then the same players combined again, with Allen this time heading the ball down, where it was gathered by Glenavon goalkeeper Andy Coleman.
Coleraine were forced into making an early change to their starting line-up when Johnny Watt collided head first with a goal post having just made an excellent defensive header. The game was stopped while he received medical attention, but he was clearly unable to continue and was replaced by Damien McNulty.
Mark Miskimmin screwed a shot wide for the visitors before Coleraine got the ball in the net, but Allen was denied his fifth goal in three games by a raised flag. But they made the breakthrough they had, on balance of play, deserved soon after. Coleman made a mess of his attempts to punch clear Black’s cross and only succeeded in punching it back towards his own goal where Shane Jennings nipped in to force the ball over the line, despite pressure from a defender.
The second half began with Coleraine keen to extend their advantage. Black tried his luck with a viciously struck free kick, but instead of ripping the net, it only succeeded in denting the adverting board on the roof of the Ballycastle Road end. Allen had a go with a free kick from the other side, but after getting it round the wall, it kicked up in the goalmouth and Coleman was able to gather.
Stephen Lowry went for goal but slipped as he shot and didn’t make perfect contact, before the ball deflected behind, off a defender. Black then drilled a free kick into the wall but did well to recover the situation and put in a cross which Knight headed straight into Coleman’s arms.
There was a let-off for Coleraine as Doherty came out to clear, but sliced his kick straight to Lavery, who shot, but fortunately missed the target. But Coleraine were ultimately made to pay for their failure to close the game out, Miskimmin equalising for Glenavon in the 89th minute with a superb curling effort which gave Doherty no chance.
The last couple of minutes saw Coleraine try to regain some of the urgency that had been lacking in the second half, but aside from a snatched shot from Knight, they failed to create a clear chance which could have led to a goal.
Team: Doherty, Beverland, Ogilby, Scullion, Lowry, Allen, Knight, Watt (McNulty), Jennings (McIlmoyle), Tommons, Black.
Unused Subs: Cullen, McIvor, Bradley
Booked: Knight, Lowry