It has been a bleak mid winter by Oran Kearney’s own admission, but the Bannsiders boss believes the shoots of recovery are taking hold.
Saturday saw Coleraine slip to their sixth defeat on the bounce as they went down 2-0 away to Portadown.
But again it could have been very different if the Bannsiders had turned their second half dominance into goals.
Playing against a very strong wind Kearney’s men found themselves 2-0 down at the break with Chris Ramsey and Gary Twigg the men on target. Ramsey’s ninth minute header from a Chris Casement corner was his first of the season.
Twigg struck on 22 minutes when Steven Douglas failed to cut out an up-field punt by Ports’ keeper David Miskelly, the striker nipped in, beat custodian Wayne Drummond to the ball, and dinked a sublime effort over him into the net.
Coleraine threw everything at the Ports after the restart and could have been level just minutes into the second half as David Ogilby and Eoin Bradley went agonisingly close.
Bradley, Gareth Tommons, Shane Jennings and Stephen Carson all tested Miskelly but they couldn’t find the crucial goal. Kearney though was heartened by the character his side showed in trying to get back into the game.
“It was a very tough game given the conditions,” Kearney told Times Sport.
“It was always going to come down to how well you defended when playing against the wind. Unfortunately for us we conceded two and couldn’t score when we had the wind.
“But I really can’t fault the lads for the effort they showed. It would have been all too easy to just throw the towel in when two down, particularly given the run we are on.
“But following on from last week’s performance against Linfield we just kept going and created so many good chances.
“On another day we would have scored a couple but we just couldn’t hit the target. A combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept us at bay.
“We talked at half time about how crucial the third goal was going to be.
“If we had managed to convert one of our chances, particularly the ones early on in the half, then it would have given us a real catalyst.”
Despite the defeat Kearney was able to take a lot of positives from the game and believes the signs of recovery are starting to show.
“The first three defeats in this run did them no credit whatever,” he commented.
“The spirit simply wasn’t there. But they are turning it round. Last week’s 3-2 reverse was tough luck, with the Blues hitting the winner in added time.
“And we really tested Portadown in the second-half. So the last two games give us a lot of positives to carry forward.
“It has been a bleak mid winter for us but the shoots of recovery are there.
“If we can keep performing like this it won’t be too long before we are back to winning ways again.
“It is coming at a very important time for us with some big games coming up over the next few weeks.
“People will look at the table and see us just above Warrenpoint, but on the smae hand we are only eight points off sixth.
“We have a lot of big games coming up against the teams around us over the next few weeks and it’s vital we start picking up the points and climb the table.”