COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney praised striker Curtis Allen for his response at being left out of the starting eleven at Stangmore Park.
The former Linfield man was axed following last week’s draw at Distillery, but he came off the bench to fire home a superb equaliser to earn the Bannsiders a share of the spoils aginst Dungannon.
“We all know what Curtis is about and the last thing we expect is for him to sulk,” said Kearney after the game.
“That was as well as he’s played in a couple of weeks so hopefully it’s the wee rocket that he needs to kick on.
“It was my choice to leave Curtis on the bench.
“Last week (against Lisburn Distillery) wasn’t good enough and Curtis is no different to anyone else.
“He knows that himself, he’s very much a team player and can’t be treated any differently.
“The previous performance wasn’t good enough, I have five strikers at the club and to keep a happy camp things have to be done fairly.
“When people don’t do it, they know the rules. They step aside and let someone else take over.
“Curtis is a great player and a great goalscorer, but as I said I just felt we needed to change things up a bit.
“I got the reaction from him that I wanted and have to say, expected. In his first 15 minutes on the pitch today he did more than in the whole 90 against Distillery.”
Allen was summoned into action in the 59th minute with Coleraine trailing to Josh Cahoon’s first half strike.
And it took the substitute just seven minutes to draw the visitors level. Picking up the ball on the edge of the box, he turned and unleashed a left-foot strike which found the bottom corner.
It was the fourth 1-1 draw on the bounce for the Bannsiders, but Kearney was happier with the performance this time round.
“Obviously I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the win, because I feel we did enough in the second half to deserve it,” Kearney said.
“On top of Curtis’ goal we created four or five openings which could have led to goals and a few half chances as well. The only downside was that we couldn’t take those chances.
“The second half display was much more like the Coleraine I’ve seen over my time as manager, so there’s a very different feeling than after last week’s game when I was really deflated after as poor a performance as I can remember seeing.
“Every team will go through a sticky patch in the season and it’s a real test of your mettle and your character and I think it says a lot about us that in these four games we’ve gone behind, but battled back to get a point each time. We need to be kicking on next week now and getting back to winning ways against Glentoran.”
Stewart McMullan was drafted into the team in place of Kyle McVey, who was struck down with illness, and impressed on his full league debut.
“Stuart has been very patient waiting for his chance since the beginning of the season and after last week, I felt the time was right for him to come in,” explained Kearney.
“He has all the makings of a very good centre half and he showed that yesterday with a very solid performance. He was unlucky with a couple of the chances that fell his way too, on another day he could have grabbed the headlines with the winner.”
Dungannon manager Darren Murphy was encouraged by another battling display from his players, and believed a draw was the correct result.
“We took the lead but it was always likely they could come back in the second half,” he said.
“You look at the quality of substitutes that Coleraine could bring on, and you do start to panic.
“To be fair Coleraine came out and gave it a real go in the second half but, outside the chance that went in, Niall Morgan didn’t have that much to do.
“It was a decent game of football, we played our part and definitely deserved something.
“Maybe we could have nicked it at the end, but overall I was pleased with the effort and commitment. If the players put in a shift like that I can have no complaints.”