DCSIMG

Kearney rallies his troops ahead of vital game

David McDaid muscles his way through the Ballymena defence

David McDaid muscles his way through the Ballymena defence

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney says it is important his side maintain a high level of performance in their remaining three league games.

The Bannsiders missed out on picking up all three points against derby rivals Ballymena on Saturday as Ally Teggart fired home a stoppage time penalty to tie the game up.

The result leaves Kearney’s side just two points clear of Warrenpoint Town, who currently occupy the play-off place.

Coleraine travel to Milltown this Saturday knowing a win is vital to ease their fears of falling into the dreaded play-off spot.

“It’s going to be a tough run of games coming up that’s for sure,” Kearney told Times Sport after Saturday’s game.

“We have Warrenpoint Town away this Saturday, away to Ards on Easter Tuesday before finishing at home to Dungannon Swifts.

“We are not out of the mix yet in relation to being where we want to be.

“Hopefully it we can put in the type of performance we did against Ballymena it will be enough to see us through.”

Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ballymena was the third time this season the Bannsiders have been pegged back from a winning position against Glenn Ferguson’s side.

The hosts dominated the first half and went into the break a goal to the good thanks to Eoin Bradley’s penalty.

But they found themselves under pressure after the the restart as Ballymena used the wind at their backs to get the ball forward.

And it paid off late on as Teggart converted after Howard Beverland was adjudged to have handled the ball.

“We were obviously hoping to hold out and pick up three valuable points,” said Kearney.

“I suppose the game panned out to be one of two halves in relation to the wind. We had it in the first half and Ballymena had it in the second.

“We got our goal to go ahead just before half time and I thought we looked dangerous on the break in the second half, we were maybe a bit unfortunate not to get our second goal.

“And just when we thought we were about to get over the line, I think it’s in the first minute of time added on they are awarded a penalty and it’s two points dropped for us.

“Some of play in the first half was very good and knowing we would be playing into it in the second half it was important to try and get a goal or something to hold onto after the break.

“We did create a couple of chances after the restart and were perhaps a bit unlucky, but Ballymena stayed in the game and got their penalty right at the death which earned them a point.

“It’s always tough when you’re trying to defend playing against a strong wind. Neal Gawley was putting in long throws on top of us and corners and free kicks were being put into a very dangerous area too.

“But that is football...when you’re playing against it you have to defend it, but when you have the wind at your bak you have to use it well too.

“I’m not 100% sure about their penalty. There’s a wee bit of puzzlement there amongst the lads as to what actually happened.

“We were chatting in the changing room there and the guys are adamant that Howard Beverland is not trying to block the ball with hand and he is so close to the player who flicked the ball on he can’t really get out of the way.

“It is a tough one to call.

Ballymena skipper Allan Jenkins agreed: “We got the penalty, whether it was a penalty or not I don’t know, but at that stage of the game you take and Ally has dispatched it well to earn us a point.”

 

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