Irish Premiership: Coleraine edge closer to leaders Linfield with impressive home win over Larne

Curtis Allen
Curtis Allen helped Coleraine to all three points after losing their unbeaten run on Saturday

Coleraine moved to within seven points of leaders Linfield at the top of the Irish Premiership table with an impressive 2-0 home victory over Larne.

Curtis Allen opened the scoring midway through the first half, with substitute James McLaughlin doubling the lead 30 seconds after the restart.

Ronan Hale hit the post with a lob for Larne after Allen's opener, but the visitors faded in the second half.

The Bannsiders have a game in hand on the Blues in the race for the title.

Larne are now without a win in three Premiership outings and are replaced in fourth position of the table by Ballymena United, who drew level with them on points with a win over Carrick Rangers.

Coleraine hit the woodwork two minutes before taking the lead when Ben Doherty ran on to an Allen lay-off and unleashed a ferocious left-foot drive from 22 yards that crashed back off the crossbar.

Allen's opener arrived in the 25th minute when the experienced striker got across Albert Watson to meet a Ronan Wilson cross at the near post and head past Conor Devlin.

The visitors came within inches of equalising just after the half hour when Ronan Hale ran on to a long ball over the top and lobbed the outrushing Gareth Deane only for his effort to come off the inside of the post.

Hale tried his luck again with a long-range striker before half-time but, having gone in a goal ahead at the break, the Bannsiders doubled their lead within 30 seconds of the restart.

Jamie Glackin found McLaughlin just outside the left-hand side of the box and the striker showed superb composure to squeeze a clever low finish past Devlin with what was his first touch after coming on as a half-time substitute.

It was comfortable for Oran Kearney's men after that, with substitute's Jonny McMurray's snapshot that went over the crossbar late on the closest Larne came to getting a goal back in a quiet second half.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney said: "We were bang on the money, we get every ounce from every player from first minute to last, which you need against a side of Larne's quality. It was a good header from Curtis, textbook stuff, which is what he does, while James' goal was also a great run and super finish. It was important for us to get back on the horse quickly so the manner of how we got our win tonight was pleasing."

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