‘Carlsberg’ time for Bannsiders

Steven Douglas (left) - winner of the Irish League title with Portadown in 2002 - was back at Shamrock Park on Saturday to help Coleraine home against Aaron Haire and team-mates. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Steven Douglas (left) - winner of the Irish League title with Portadown in 2002 - was back at Shamrock Park on Saturday to help Coleraine home against Aaron Haire and team-mates. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

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Coleraine manager Oran Kearney stood in the Shamrock Park corridors on Saturday evening and reflected on a ‘Carlsberg’ week for the club.

A performance of both skill and spirit by his players secured full points to add to a string of impressive results on multiple fronts.

The Bannsiders kicked off the fixture programme by beating Ards in the previous weekend’s Danske Bank Premiership list.

That Saturday boost was bolstered by Tuesday’s announcement of the Irish Football Association verdict against Portadown that included a 3-0 win in Coleraine’s favour in relation to the game originally scheduled for the opening day of the season.

Victory arrived on Wednesday in the League Cup over Knockbreda - to set up a quarter-final clash with Crusaders - before a weekend trip to Shamrock Park.

“I said after the week we had I was craving a clean sweep,” said Kearney. “It was like a ‘Carlsberg’ week for us when you look at the Ards win, the IFA verdict, League Cup result and then Portadown game.

“There was so much talk leading up to the match about Portadown, which was probably inevitable but our motivation came from our own situation.

“It still came down to 11 players v 11 players on the pitch.

“We lacked that ruthless edge in the first half and entered half-time disappointed at 1-0 having missed chances to put the game to bed.

“Scoring goals is the hardest part of football and we dominated but could not put the ball in the back of the net more than 1-0.

“We were expecting Portadown to come back at us in the second half, which they did.

“We then had to show a different side to our game and grind out the result.”

Lyons smashed home the game’s only goal on 23 minutes and proved a livewire along the Coleraine attack in the first half.

Coleraine carved out a string of scoring opportunities without adding to the advantage.

Portadown increased the pressure after the interval but Coleraine worked hard to protect the narrow upper hand.

“It was a professional performance, especially under the circumstances of the IFA ruling dominating Portadown’s week and even the 5.30 evening kick-off time,” said Kearney. “It was an impressive result for us and also great to get the clean sheet.

“We were maybe disappointed after the first half at the 1-0 scoreline and it was a different scenario in the second half when we had to dig in.”

Coleraine’s previous Danske Bank Premiership defeat arrived on September 17 away to Cliftonville, with a single-goal reverse.

The Bannsiders must now aim to maintain that impressive run of form - which hints at the consistency craved by manager Kearney.

Seven points from October’s three-game league test to date puts Coleraine full of confidence before playing host to Linfield on Saturday.

Kick-off at The Showgrounds against Linfield will be 3 o’clock.