CURTIS Allen dedicated Saturday’s ’Demolition Derby’ to the fans.
Speaking after the 4-1 win over Ballymena United, which extended the Bannsiders unbeaten run over their old rivals to a remarkable three-and-a-half years, Allen said the players know exactly what it means to the fans.
“The fans here are unbelievable and we know beating Ballymena means more to them than beating anyone else,” said Allen, who scored the fourth goal in the rout.
“Obviously we’ve had the better of them for a while now, but there’s always pressure when you go into any derby game.
“There is pressure on every week though because we are at the top of the table and we want to stay there.
“Thankfully we’ve played out of our skins today and we’ve got the result.”
Allen was delighted to see his side knock in four goals after last week’s goalless draw at The Oval.
“Last week we created a lot of chances against the Glens, but unfortunately we didn’t take any of them,” he said.
“So we spoke in training about being clinical all over the park. Luckily enough today ’Boycie’ got the goal just before half time and it helped settle us down.
“We pushed on from there and fully deserved to run out comfortable winners in the end.”
Allen also had a special word of praise for fellow forward David Scullion, who netted the third goal on Saturday.
“Everyone here knows just how good a player ’Scully’ is. He is very technically gifted and the finish he produced today we see all the time in training,” said Allen.
“A lot of other players might have taken a touch, but he has the ability just to finish it with a first time shot into the bottom corner.”
The only blot on Allen’s copybook was a missed penalty, but he made up for it by netting a late fourth for the Bannsiders.
“I was sitting watching the Manchester United match with my brother the other night and Nani missed a penalty and I said to him you should never miss a penalty and then I go and do it today,” joked Allen.
“It’s just one of those things and I was raging at the time, but the result is more important.
“I just continued to work hard and thankfully I got the goal in the end.
“I changed where I normally put my penalties. I put the last two in the other side, but I thought Dwayne Nelson might have known that so I changed.
“As much as it pains me to say it he produced a good save. Things like that happen you just have to move on to the next one.”
The win keeps the Bannsiders level on points with Cliftonville at the top of the league ahead of Saturday’s visit from Dungannon Swifts with boss Oran Kearney expecting another tough game.
“It certainly won’t be easy against Dungannon next week,” he said. “Every team in this league is more than capable of taking points of each other.
“Every team has strengthened during the summer and are stronger than they were last season.
“It makes it a very tough league and we are under no illusions of the task which lies ahead.
“When you look at today’s results for me it shows the league has improved ten-fold this season and credit to all the sides in it.
“We are very happy about our league position at the minute, but we know that a couple of bad results and we could slip down to mid-table.
“We just have to keep our focus on ourselves and concentrate on the next game.
“We are moving in the right direction we are a very young side and the minute you take your eye off the ball and start talking about leagues you will slip up.”
Before that though Coleraine entertain Portstewart in the North West Cup semi final on Tuesday night with Kearney admitting he will be ringing the changes.
“I will be making a number of changes for Tuesday night’s game and that’s not being disrespectful to the North West Cup,” he said.
“We have to keep our eye on the big picture and for me that is Dungannon on Saturday.
“A few of today’s subs will get a game along with other squad members.”