IT was another frustrating day for Coleraine on Saturday as they faced off against the newly crowned league champions.
With half time in sight the Bannsiders were well in the game and had probably carved out the better chances. But 10 minutes of madness put paid to their chances of getting something from the game.
A mistake by keeper Michael Doherty allowed Liam Boyce in for the first. Howard Beverland was then dismissed for a challenge of Martin Donnelly and right on half time Boyce converted a penalty to leave Oran Kearney a frustrated man.
The Bannsiders boss felt the refereeing decisions, which gave his side a mountain to climb, were harsh to say the least.
“When Howard was sent off even Tommy Breslin turned around to me and said ‘Is he serious’,” Kearney told Times Sport after the game.
“Howard got up to accept the yellow card, everyone knew a card was coming, but I don’t think anything thought it was going to be red. So we were really up against it after that.
“And then came the penalty. The linesman on our side had the best view and he was shouting no to the ref, but he still gives it.
“Unfortunately we seem to have had our fair share of decisions like that of late. Both this week and last week we’ve had to talk about the ref rather than the game.
“Obviously I’m very disappointed with the result.
“I thought we were really good for the first 20 to 25 minutes, we were knocking on the door. But again like a lot of games this season we looked like we were going to get something out of the game.
“So it was very disappointing to concede twice before half time and the manner of the goals we conceded was poor from our point of view.
“I said to the players at half time that we couldn’t afford to let it turn into another Ballinamallard.
“But I think we showed we had learnt from it and we looked pretty solid in the second half despite being a man short. We created as many chances as we had in the first half, but our final ball let us down at times, fatigue played a big part in that as we were tired.
“So I’m pleased we didn’t concede any more in the second half because you do fear the worst when you’re 2-0 down at the break and down to 10 men.”