Matthew Shevlin scored twice as Coleraine drew 2-2 with Glentoran at the Oval on Tuesday.
COLERAINE and Glentoran meet for the second time in four days at the Showgrounds this evening (Friday) in one of the most important games of the season for both clubs.
Victory for the home side would see them stretch their lead to five points over tonight's opponents and help to consolidate their second place in the league table.
An away win, however, would see the Glens leapfrog Oran Kearney's men and move a point ahead with a game in hand.
The sides met at the Oval on Tuesday night when the match ended all square at 2-2.
Mick McDermott's men started like a house on fire, Jay Donnelly giving them an early lead, and threatened to blow their visitors away.
However, Coleraine have an indomitable spirit and they recovered brilliantly to level by half-time, Matthew Shevlin with the goal.
They then went in front, again Shevlin on target, and looked to be in control of affairs as the match entered its closing stages.
That was until Josh Carson directed the ball past his own keeper, Marty Gallagher, with one of the most freakish own goals you're ever likely to see.
So, it ended honours even, but arguably the Bannsiders can take more positives away from the game than their opponents.
They proved that they were more than a match for the big-spending Glens once they got to the pace of the game and, arguably, should have left with maximum points.
They now know all about Glentoran's propensity for fast starts - they scored an early goal in their victory over Dungannon just a couple of days before meeting Coleraine - and to be forewarned is forearmed.
A front three of the two Donnelly brothers and Robbie McDaid can cause problems but, again, Coleraine's defence, one of the meanest in the league, performed brilliantly after conceding early.
Defensively, Glentoran looked less than certain at times and certainly Matthew Shevlin made the most of any uncertainty with two great goals in one of his best performances in the stripes.
It promises to be another intriguing encounter with home advantage perhaps shading it for Coleraine.
The Showgrounds is a difficult place for teams to visit; let's hope it remains that way come Friday night.
The game is being streamed by BBC NI.