Irish Premiership: Linfield 1-0 Coleraine

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Linfield beat Bannsiders to halt slide

Linfield ended a run of four straight defeats to ease the pressure on recently-installed manager David Healy thanks to a Jimmy Callacher goal.

Prompted by Darren McCauley, Coleraine bossed much of the game with Linfield's threat often confined to set pieces.

After a nervous first half by the Blues, Callacher headed the winner on 47 after a David Kee corner.

Ruairi Harkin missed a chance to level with keeper Ross Glendinning making a fine injury-time save to deny McCauley.

Coleraine started the day in second place in the table after an 11-game unbeaten run but the defeat sees the Bannsiders drop to third, nine behind leaders Crusaders.

Linfield move above Glenavon into fourth spot but remain 12 points off the pace.

Linfield's Mark Stafford fights out an aerial duel with Coleraine's James McLaughlin
Linfield recovered from a nervous first half to edge out Coleraine at Windsor Park

The Blues looked desperately short of confidence in the first half with Coleraine by far the more fluent outfit in possession.

Linfield had a let-off in the 17th minute as Ian Parkhill's apparently goal-bound close-range effort hit his team-mate James McLaughlin after a superb McCauley cross.

Ruairi Harkin blasted another great Coleraine chance over the crossbar but Linfield did squander opportunities of their own as Aaron Burns and Mark Stafford headed over with Andrew Waterworth also slicing side.

Kee's excellent set piece delivery finally yielded a goal in the 47th minute as Callacher headed past Michael Doherty.

Guy Bates wasted a chance to extend Linfield's lead seven minutes later and the Blues were almost made to pay as Harkin should have levelled as he attempted to pull back to McCauley instead of going for goal himself.

As the nervous Blues retreated into a defensive shell, Coleraine produced intense late pressure but the Blues held on with Glendinning making a brilliant save in injury-time to push McCauley's drive out for a corner.

What they said

Linfield manager David Healy: "I sensed it on Thursday night. The players were ready to work hard.

"They were prepared to put their bodies on the line today.

"Coleraine had a little bit of pressure towards the end of the game but I think we deserved the three points."

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney: "All good things do come to an end but I'm disappointed in the defeat.

"In the first half, we had a really good period and it was disappointing to come in at half-time 0-0.

"Linfield are always dangerous from set pieces and before the game we did talk about that area."

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