Two late goals from Coleraine's on-loan striker Jordan Allan made it honours-even in the A26 Derby
With little more than stoppage time remaining, Ballymena United looked to be cruising to a derby-day win, and another three points. However Oran Kearney's Bannsiders had different ideas, coming away with a 2-2 draw and preserving their unbeaten home record in the process.
For the second week in a row Coleraine scored two late goals to squirrel a point out of a game that seemed beyond them. Last week Glenavon were the team to learn that the current Bannsiders are very much not beaten until the final whistle.
Great travelling support from United. pic.twitter.com/QZKaG2bbjQ— Ballymena United FC (@BallymenaUnited) October 1, 2016
In front of a rapturous crowd which included the likes of James Nesbitt and Jackie Fullerton, Ballymena started the brighter. United enjoyed much of the early possession in the game, and the recorded most of the early efforts on goal. The visitors were unlucky not to be ahead before the interval, with both McMurray and Kane going close in the opening exchanges.
However the Sky Blues were not made to wait too long after halftime for their opener, when Cathair Friel finished after a Kane set piece. It was no more than United deserved, although Jordan Allan came close to equalising for Coleraine when he hit the upright on the hour mark.
It was Ballymena who struck next, with Cathair Friel slotting home to double United's lead on 78 minutes. And that should have been enough for David Jeffrey's men in what was a fairly deserved 2-0 lead.
2-2 in injury time. Heartbreak for Ballymena.— Ballymena United FC (@BallymenaUnited) October 1, 2016
Before the game David Jeffrey said that he admired Coleraine's resilience a week ago, even claiming that he felt Coleraine were unlucky not to beat Glenavon. Oran Kearney also praised his side's character saying that they would need that kind of resilience heading into the derby.
Those words were to prove prophetic, as Coleraine went about supplying the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds with another late, late show. Jordan Allan got the ball rolling when he pulled one back in the 89th minute, after Alan Blaney struggled to deal with a long ball.
It was then left to Allan to have the final say in the thunderous encounter. Allan struck two minutes into stoppage time after an assist from Jamie McGonigle, to send the home support into raptures.
I think @OranKearney was pretty excited when @jordanSallan stroked home..... pic.twitter.com/zQ75Ki1JZM— Coleraine FC (@ColeraineFC) October 1, 2016
Both sides would arguably have taken a point before the game, however Ballymena will be a little disappointed, very much dropping two points in a game they perhaps should have won. Coleraine can certainly take positives from the game, even if they never quite matched Ballymena's intensity. Once again Oran Kearney's side showed the type of fight and determination, that makes them a daunting task for any side visiting the Ballycastle Road.
Next up for Coleraine is a trip to take on Niall Currie's Ards side, while Ballymena United will host David Jeffrey's former side Linfield.