The Glens and the Bannsiders shared the spoils at the Bet McLean Oval in Saturday evening's Danske Bank Premiership fixture.
The visitors were by far the better team in the opening 20 minutes and were deservedly in front. Jamie Glackin had the first real opportunity on 9 minutes, picking the ball up in midfield and driving forward before sending a 25-yard drive wide of the post. Eoin Bradley's 30-yard free kick almost caught out Aaron McCarey in the home goal a couple of minutes later; the ball seeming to hit a divot just in front of the Glens keeper but he held onto it at the second attempt. Following a free kick to Coleraine on the quarter hour mark, they edged in front. Conor McKendry was allowed to travel with the ball and, unchallenged, his shot from outside the area found the bottom corner of the net.
Glentoran's first effort on target came on 18 minutes when Robbie McDaid turned Bobby Burns' cross goalwards but it was a comfortable save for Gareth Deane. A free kick from Hrvoje Plum found stand-in skipper, Paddy McClean in the box but his header was too high. Straight down the other end we went and a great effort from McKendry forced McCarey into a fine stop. After Robbie McDaid had headed over from a Plum corner the Glens should have levelled. It was just past the half hour mark and Hrvoje Plum did brilliantly to evade 3 Coleraine defenders and shoot powerfully towards goal. Deane did really well to keep the ball out and then made an equally fine stop from Jay Donnelly's follow up. As we approached halftime the Glens were on top and McDaid, O'Connor and Donnelly all went close to grabbing an equaliser.
Halftime: Glentoran 0-1 Coleraine
6 minutes aftert the break the Glens deservedly levelled things up. A superb clipped ball into the area from Gael Bigirimana was headed on by Jay Donnelly past a despairing Gareth Deane. Hrvoje Plum almost put the Glens in front a minute later with a 30-yard drive which was just over the bar.
Coleraine were still dangerous on the break and might have retaken the lead on 59 minutes when Conor McKendry's 30-yard free kick looked destined for the top corner only for Aaron McCarey to tip it over the bar. On 64 minutes an excellent ball from Conor McMenamin set Bobby Burns free in the area. The Glentoran left fullback was crudely taken down by Conor McKendry. Penalty!
McKendry had been cautioned in the 49th minute and the majority of the crowd expected a second yellow to follow. Certainly had this challenge been made anywhere else on the pitch it would have been! Referee Andrew Davey decided against it though. Who knows how the game would have panned out later on had Davey's reaction been different and Coleraine had had to play the last 25 minutes with 10 men. Jay Donnelly stepped up and sent Deane the wrong way and the Glens were in front.
With 10 minutes remaining, a poor pass from Gael Bigirimana failed to find Bobby Burns and Lyndon Kane intercepted. As he drove forwards, Bigirimana, Clucas, McCullough and Marshall all failed to get a challenge in. Kane found substitute Cathair Friel and he slid the ball under McCarey to make it 2-all. In the immediate aftermath of the goal an incident involving McCarey and Bobby Burns resulted in the Glentoran keeper being shown a red card. Ross Glendinning came on in place of Jay Donnelly and the Glens had a tricky 10 minutes to survive to gain a point which they managed successfully.
Fulltime: Glentoran 2-2 Coleraine
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Burns, McCullough, McClean, Bigirimana, Plum (Clucas 78), O'Connor (Garrett 83), J. Donnelly (Glendinning 83), McDaid (R. Donnelly 49) & McMenamin