For the second week in succession Coleraine manager Oran Kearney was left to bemoan his side’s inability to take their chances.
On Saturday they created as many chances as Linfield, but just as they had done the week before at Crusaders, they left Windsor Park with nothing to show for their efforts.
The Bannsiders dominated proceedings in the first half, but remarkably went in at the break two goals down.
Ian Parkhill should have had the Bannsiders in front after only two minutes when he showed the Linfield defence a clean pair of heels before his shot was brilliantly diverted by Ross Glendinning.
Andy Waterworth struck on seven minutes, tapping home an Ivan Sproule cross before the big striker turned provider, laying on a second for Aaron Burns, who finished with aplomb.
After a good spell of Coleraine possession, Aaron Canning’s cross landed to Joe McNeill but the midfielder’s goal bound effort was well blocked by Mark Haughey.
On 22 minutes, Neil McCafferty’s floating corner-kick was met by the head of Parkhill with Glendinning being forced to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Only a few minutes later, Coleraine had a goal chalked off with television replays showing this to be a contentious decision afterwards.
Blues keeper Glendinning seemed to lose the ball from Lyndon Kane’s centre and Joe McNeill pounced to head the ball home from close range.
Referee Andrew Davey though ruled McNeill had fouled Glendinning much to the annoyance of the Coleraine contingent.
There wasn’t as much action from either side after the restart but a McCafferty goal ten minutes from time set up a tense finale for the home side.
The midfielder showed great vision to chip the ball into the empty net after Glendinning had raced out to deny Gary Browne.
McCafferty expertly found the target though from almost 30 yards.
Coleraine pushed for an equaliser in the dying minutes but they just couldn’t find a second goal.
So Kearney was left a frustrated figure at the end again as his side’s profligacy in front of goal proved costly once more.
“It’s frustrating,” said former Linfield favourite Kearney.
“We created more than enough chances to get something out of the game.
“There were some what you could describe as bread and butter opportunities. We were on a nice little run a month ago and those type of chances were hitting the net.
“Over the last few games, they haven’t gone in and that’s the difference which is a fine line between success and failure.
“I seem to be saying the same thing every week, but goals win games.
“I can’t fault the boys. Their endeavour, attitude and mentality was spot on, even when we were 2-0 down.
“We created some really good chances. We actually should have been in front before Linfield scored.
“As I say some of them were bread and butter chances, but that’s the fine line there is between success and failure.
“If one or two of those chances had gone in it would have changed the momentum of the game.”
Kearney was very disappointed with the referee’s decision to rule out Joe McNeill’s first half goal.
“I am really struggling to see how the ref could blow up for a foul from Joe,” said a disgruntled Kearney.
“If anything it’s the Linfield defender who makes contact with the keeper when the cross came in and not Joe.
“I know he blew up for a foul by Joe a few minutes earlier, and rightly so that was a foul, but he got that one wrong in my eyes.
“That was a big turning point in the game.
“Overall though I have to be pleased with the performance of the lads.
“It was the first time five out of our starting had ever played at Windsor and you certainly wouldn’t have known it.
“We should have taken at least a point from the game and that’s the difficult side of things.”
Linfield striker Andy Waterworth admitted his side had been very fortunate to come away with all three points on the day.
The frontman, who grabbed his side’s opening goal at Windsor, paid special tribute to his keeper Ross Glendinning, who produced a number of top saves to keep his side in front.
“The scoreline flattered us,” the striker said after the game.
“Coleraine will be wondering how they didn’t get something out of the game.
“We are having a strange run of results. Every time we play well we’re beaten, but when we struggle we seem to win.
“It was good to secure the points but we can do a lot better. We had to rely on our goalkeeper Ross Glendinning to bale us out on a few occasions today.
“A bit of panic set in when Coleraine scored in the second half and it is happening to us too often.
“We are still relatively inexperienced in how we manage games. It’s something we must learn to do.
“I suppose it is a good sign that we are still winning games despite not playing all that well.”
Linfield boss Warren Feeney admitted his side were poor on the day.
“Yeah, we were poor today, we showed in patches the quality we have, particularly with the two goals,” said Feeney at the end.
“I said to the lads that you have to match teams for work ethic.
“We have the player who can produce the qualitymoments, but you have to sustain the hard work.
“It was a poor performance and you hold your hands up, but the most important thing is to get the win.”
Next up for the Bannsiders is the champions Cliftonville.
Tommy Breslin’s side have found their form over the last few weeks and they showed their attacking prowess hitting seven against Ballymena United on Saturday.
“They are obviously flying at the minute,” said Kearney.
“They have always been a team capable of scoring goals and they showed that again on Saturday.
“Davy McDaid is in great form in particular and this is his first game back at The Showgrounds.
“But we are looking forward to it.”