Oran plays down the stats

Shane Jennings celebrates with Gary Browne. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye.com
Shane Jennings celebrates with Gary Browne. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye.com

By his own admission, statistics don’t mean a lot to Coleraine manager Oran Kearney.

But even he raised an eyebrow when informed his team hadn’t lost to bitter rivals Ballymena United for close on four years.

A quick shrug of the shoulders, Kearney was quick to acknowledge: “Players change and managers change, stats don’t meant a lot to me.”

Deep down, he will be hoping the trend continues in tomorrow’s tantalising derby fixture at the Warden Street Showgrounds,

“The past will have no impact on this game,” added Kearney.

“We’ll be going there to try and get three points, as we do in every game – that’s the only thing I’m interest in.”

It’s was back in October 17, 2009, that the Sky Blues last savoured victory against the Bannsiders in a 3-2 home success.

Kearney, in fact, has yet to sample defeat in this fixture. Since he took over in February 2011, the teams have clashed on 10 occasions – Coleraine have won eight, with two finishing level.

And, just to spice things up, he again comes up against his great pal Glenn ‘Spike’ Ferguson, who will be in the Ballymena dugout.

“Spike and I still get on really well,” added Kearney.

“I suppose it’s not ideal that we are at rival clubs. It gives the fixture that little bit of an edge.

“We have been big friends for ages – that will always remain. There is a lot of respect between the both of us.

“I’m glad to see him doing well in his managerial role, but I hope I can put a dent in that for one Saturday at least.”

The Bannsiders got their Premiership challenge back on track with a home win over Ards last week, but were quickly brought down to earth when dumped out of the League Cup by Crusaders in midweek – albeit after extra time.

Kearney, however, was happy with his team’s contribution, apart from a madcap 15 minutes spell in extra time when they shipped three goals.

“Seaview is always a tough place to go for a cup tie,” he added.

“We were one down after 10 minutes and sometimes you fear the worst when that happens.

“To be fair to our lads, they steadied the ship and got stronger as the game progressed.

“We had a good 10 or 15 minute spell when we equalised.

“The game then could have gone either way in the second half. I though we were the better side in the first 15 minutes of extra time.

“We had chances to win it and just didn’t put them away – we just were not ruthless enough.

“We then switched off to gift Crusaders their goals. We defended resolutely for a majority of the game, but you just can’t afford to do that – in saying that there were a lot of tired legs by that stage.”

STATS

Recent P’ship form: Ballymena L-L-D-L-L; Coleraine W-L-W-L-L

Last season’s results: Ballymena 0 Coleraine 1, Ballymena 0 Coleraine 2, Coleraine 4 Ballymena 1.

Prediction: Ballymena 1 Coleraine 2