Coleraine’s disappointing end to Europa League campaign

Coleraine FCÕs Eoin Bradley (left) in action against FK Spartak Subotica's Nemanja Calasan during the UEFA Europa League Qualifying match at Coleraine Showgrounds.

Last night Coleraine hosted Spartak Subotica at the showgrounds for the home leg of the 1st round of the Europa League qualifiers. The sides were equal on aggregate after 1-1 draw in Serbia last week. 

Coleraine started strong and had their first chance on goal in the twenty third minute when an unmarked Darren McAuley blasted the ball over the bar.  A defensive blunder by Coleraine broke the deadlock in the thirty third minute when Savković scored for the visitors from a free kick taken by Glavči, picked up by Ćalasan who headed it to unmarked Savković. The score remained the same going into the break. Coleraine came out all guns blazing and dominated the second half with some fantastic chances that were thwarted only by superb goalkeeping from Perić.  Eoin Bradley created a chance for Aaron Burns who struck inside the goal but Perić’s dive denied the Bannsiders the equaliser early in the second half. Coleraine sub Jamie McGonigle was denied a goal after nudging his shot past the post being from a cross from Bradley in the 63rd minute. Coleraine kept the pressure on with another missed opportunity when Stephen O’Donnell was off target after getting on the end Ruairi Harkin’s cross.

The Bannsiders best chance came in the 83rd minute when McGonigle’s on target shot was saved by Peric, Traynor’s responded immediately with close-range header which Peric heroically saved also. Stephen Lowry was next to have his effort denied by Peric. Brad Lyons scored for hosts, but it was ruled offside adding to Coleraine’s’ frustration in the closing minutes. Spartak caught Coleraine on the break in the 91st minute when Savković squared for Čečarić to shoot into an empty net.

Although a disappointing result for Coleraine, Oran Kearney has plenty of positives to take from the match. Coleraine dominated possession throughout and outplayed their opponents for most of the game. Eoin Bradley showed just how dangerous he can be, James McLaughlin made his return after a sitting out for a year due to a cruciate injury and Stephen Lowry is back in the fold, so the future is bright for the Bannsiders next season!

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