Another draw for Dungannon Swifts, another goal for Josh Cahoon – there is an element of predictability about local football this season, writes Adrian Rutherford.
The young striker scored for the seventh time as Dungannon and Coleraine shared the points after an entertaining clash at Stangmore Park.
Cahoon is Swifts’ top scorer by some distance, and it is largely thanks to his potency in front of goal that they are not in deeper trouble in the league table.
He opened the scoring with a simple finish, side-footing home from a Neal Gawley cut-back.
It wasn’t enough to secure all three points, however, with Curtis Allen coming off the bench to rescue a point for the Bannsiders.
This was Dungannon’s eighth draw in 16 league games and, while they need to start turning some of those into wins, manager Darren Murphy was satisfied with his players’ efforts.
“I have to give the players a lot of credit,” he said. “We did really well in the first half and got ourselves ahead.
“Coleraine came out in the second half and gave it a real go. But outside the goal, Niall Morgan didn’t have a real outstanding save to make.
“It wasn’t as if he was saving shot after shot, so in that respect I think we did deserve a point.
“Oran Kearney is maybe the more disappointed because I’m sure he would have expected to come here and pick up three points.”
Coleraine midfielder Ryan McIlmoyle, a former Dungannon player, was content with a draw.
“We pushed for a win towards the end but overall we’re happy with a point,” he said.
“Our first half performance wasn’t up to standard. It’s been like that in the last couple of weeks.
“Once we got the goal we pushed on but a draw is probably fair.”
The game had been a lacklustre affair until Cahoon opened the scoring after 30 minutes.
Gawley capitalised on an error from Lee Colligan, skipping past the full-back before cutting the ball back for Cahoon to slot home.
Coleraine’s best effort came just before the break, but Morgan pulled off a superb save to prevent Ciaran Clarke converting Stephen Lowry’s pass.
The post came to Swifts’ rescue soon after the restart. Aaron Canning crossed to Clarke, but his angled strike clipped the upright.
The impressive Chris Lavery then went close when he took possession of a Matt Hazley pass, but his strike was helped wide by Michael Doherty.
With almost an hour gone, Kearney opted to pull Allen from the bench – and he was soon rewarded.
The striker took possession on the edge of the box, turned and unleashed a shot which, although well-placed, seemed to beat the goalkeeper far too easily.
Emmet Friars headed over from Ryan Harpur’s corner, while Morgan redeemed his earlier error with an important block to deny Stuart McMullan.
In the final stages a surge forward from Dungannon saw Ryan O’Neill feed Chris Lavery, but he was denied by a crucial tackle from a Coleraine defender.