Coleraine boss Oran Kearney admitted the first goal was always going to be vital in Friday night’s clash with Ballinamallard United.
Unfortunately for the Bannsiders it was the hosts who got it as Ryan Campbell coberted five minutes into the second half.
The visitors pushed hard to get back in the game, but came up against a resolute Ballinamallard rearguard, who defended for their lives in a bid to get the points to move off the bottom of the table.
“You could see tonight Ballinamallard were a wee bit on edge, even up to they scored their goal. We stressed to the lads that was something we needed to play on.
“If we had gone ahead and given where Ballinamallard were mentally it would have been a shot in the arm to us. Instead the goal gave them the lift.”
The Bannsiders had several opportunities to get on the score sheet at Ferney Park, but just like at Seaview earlier in the week they failed to take them.
“We’re into those key moments of the game that where we do get the opportunity we need to go strike and go ahead. Those are the big moments that change match results,” stressed the Coleraine manager.
“I can’t fault the attitude or application of the boys and to be fair they did keep going right until the end.”
Kearney felt his side had been denied the opportunity to grab the early initiative when Bannsiders striker Mark Miskimmin appeared to be tripped by Chris Crilly.
“Mark got in behind enemy lines and for me there was clear contact,” he said.
“It was enough for a penalty and a red card. That decision had a massive impact on the outcome of the game. The referee said there was contact but not enough!
“For me I rather he’d just say he didn’t see it. In games like this they’re the big moments that have an impact.”
The result leaves the Bannsiders in eighth ahead of this Saturday’s home game against Glentoran.
The Glens currently sit just one place ahead of Oran Kearney’s side with three points separating them.