Irish Premiership: Coleraine 2-2 Linfield

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Irish Premiership: Coleraine 2-2 Linfield

Coleraine missed the chance to go top of the Premiership as Linfield scored twice in the final four minutes to clinch a dramatic Showgrounds draw.

Jamie McGonigle fired in an opener for the dominant hosts and Ian Parkhill slotted home in the second half.

Andrew Waterworth got one back with a header before Stephen Lowry's free-kick struck the bar and went in off defender Gareth McConaghie for an own goal.

Coleraine move level on points with Crusaders, who lead on goal difference.

Oran Kearney's side were cruising to a crucial win in the title race before Linfield's thrilling late comeback.

Josh Carson fizzed just wide with the first of Coleraine's numerous openings and a fine save from Gareth Deane kept out McGonigle's shot before the forward made a 27th-minute breakthrough.

Eoin Bradley started the classy move which McGonigle finished with a sweet strike into the bottom corner from Josh Carson's pass.

Coleraine celebrate Jamie McGonigle's first-half strike against Linfield
Coleraine celebrate Jamie McGonigle's first-half strike against Linfield

Coleraine enjoyed a deserved half-time advantage and could have added a second goal on the restart as Stephen O'Donnell and Martin Smith wasted opportunities.

The introduction of Andrew Mitchell and Stephen Lowry sparked Linfield into life and they came close to a leveller.

Chris Casement whipped in a dangerous cross and Waterworth connected from close range, but Johns produced a superb save to keep Coleraine in front.

The visitors were on the attack again but lost possession with Coleraine breaking fast and McCauley slipped the ball to Parkhill, who slotted low past Deane.

Linfield have struggled in their title defence but they showed character with their fightback, starting with Waterworth's glancing header from a Niall Quinn cross.

Premiership top six

There was a touch of fortune with the injury-time leveller as Lowry's free-kick finally found the net via the woodwork and the unlucky McConaghie.

Coleraine join the Crues on 64 points although the north Belfast side, who lost to Dungannon Swifts in Tuesday night's League Cup semi-final, have a game in hand.

What they said

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney: "It was a crazy finish - I wanted a big performance from the team and I got that.

"When we look at the league table we'll know it's not the end of the world and we can use this game as motivation."

Linfield manager David Healy: "My players have been battered from pillar to post with our recent results.

"I called for a response at half-time and although it came late, it was a deserved point."