Opportunities go begging

Gary Browne sticks to the task. 'photo:Derek Simpson
Gary Browne sticks to the task. 'photo:Derek Simpson

Oran Kearney was left to bemoan his side’s profligacy in front of goal as they slipped to defeat at home on Friday night.

In a largely forgettable game the Bannsiders had the lion’s share of possession, but it was the visitors, Dungannon Swifts who grabbed the goals and the points.

Andrew Mitchell put Darren Murphy’s side ahead in the first half heading home Grant Hutchinson’s centre.

Substitute Gary Browne looked to have secured at least a point for the hosts as he slotted home a long ball from Michael Doherty.

But with four minutes to go teenage striker Conor Mullen stabbed home from close range to secure the points for the Swifts and leave Kearney a frustrated man.

“It was a frustrating evening,” he told Times Sport. “I’ve said this numerous times in the past standing here, if you don’t take your chances when they come along you will get hit by a sucker punch and that’s what has happened.

“We played some good stuff and created numerous chances in the first half, the second half was of a similar vein, but we only have one goal to show for it.

“Their first goal was a great goal, but from our point of view I think their player has come through two tackles and then a third one wide before the cross comes in, I think if we stop it at source the cross never gets there.

“I thought when we deservedly drew level we had been on the front foot for a long period of time. Although we lacked quality in the final third for our endeavours we probably deserved a draw out of it.

“So it was very disappointing to concede so late on to lose the game. But that’s football, earlier in the season David Ogilby scored a late winner for us down at Stangmore, and they have doen the same to us here tonight.”

Opposition boss Darren Murphy pointed to Coleraine’s inability to turn their possession into chances.

“It was a strange game,” he said. “Coleraine had plenty of the ball, they were in our half quite a bit, but I think what will disappoint Oran is their final ball into the box.

“They got themselves into a lot of good positions throughout the match, but their final ball let them down.

“We had very few chances in the game, the difference was when the chances came along we took them. The first was a great ball in by Grant Hutchinson and a great header by Andrew Mitchell, and the second came from another excellent ball in by Dougie Wilson and young Conor Mullen finished it off well.

“That was the major difference between the times, our final ball into the box was better than Coleraine’s, it just didn’t happen for them in the final third of the pitch.”

Kearney paid tribute to goal scorer Gary Browne, who of course is looking to move on from The Showgrounds.

“It was a great finish by Gary,” said the Bannsiders boss. “I thought we overcomplicated things tonight, things broke down for us we when were trying to be too smart and do too much. It’s ironic then our goal comes from a long kick from Michael straight through to Gary who showed his quality.

“Obviously Gary has made his choice and he would be keen to move on, there’s a week of the transfer window left and we’re in no big rush to push Gary out the door, but in the same stretch that’s what he wants to do.”

Kearney is hoping to finally get long term injury absentees Ruairi Harkin, Darren McCauley and Howard Beverland back in action very soon.

They sat out Friday night’s game with the Bannsiders boss disappointed others didn’t take their chance to shine in their absence.

“We are missing five or six first team regulars but you can look at it in one of two ways, their absence gives the opportunity to those guys who go out there, sadly tonight though there’s probably a few who haven’t taken that opportunity and haven’t used this as a platform to give themsleves more game time,” he said.

“A club our size is reliant on having it’s best players out on the pitch, for too long in this middle part of the season we’ve had three or four of our big players missing. It’s imperative for us that we get those guys back sooner rather than later.

“When you look at us on paper, especially with our strongest eleven, it excites me, but it just seems at this point in time we are a few weeks away from being close to that.”