Stripes are just spot on

Coleraine's Neil McCafferty curls home a delightful free kick to put Coleraine in front. Darren Kidd / Press Eye
Coleraine's Neil McCafferty curls home a delightful free kick to put Coleraine in front. Darren Kidd / Press Eye
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It is fair to say many punters would have probably marked down Coleraine’s trip to Cliftonville on Saturday for a home win.

But they hadn’t banked on the Bannsiders battling spirit as they bounced back to claim a vital win.

During the week the Bannsiders’ board issued a statement saying they were ‘concerned’ by recent results, but they continued to support their manager.

And at Solitude on Saturday the players showed their support for Oran Kearney with a performance full of character and spirit to claim a deserved win over the champions.

“It’s been a tough week or so but I haven’t lost faith in the players or myself,” said Kearney after the game.

“This is a very tough league, every week there’s plenty of goals and teams beating each other.

“We have to make sure we go out every Saturday and earn our corn, just like every other team in this league.

“To be fair I thought we played some great stuff today, and credit to the lads they showed some great character to bounce back after going behind.

“We need to build on this now and make sure it’s not a one-off.

“We played very well and it was a deserved win with that, but people won’t care about that two weeks down the line of we fall back into bad habits.

“The players had to show a lot of character to fight back after falling behind. We kept playing our football and held firm when Cliftonville put us under some pressure in the second half.

“A lot has been said about us recently but we know we have the players who are more than capable and this result shows that.

“It’s a great win for us and I’m delighted for the lads.”

Johnny Flynn nodded the hosts in frontg before Ian Parkhill levelled up the scores.

Neil McCafferty curled home a delightful free kick to put the Bannsiders in front, but Marty Donnelly produced a carbon copy to tie things up again.

With time running out McCafferty stepped up to be the hero as he slotted home from the spot after Shane McGinty was felled by Barry Johnston.

It gave the Bannsiders another win at Solitude, a place where they have love to visit in recent years.

“It’s a place where we have had a bit of success over the years and I think that’s down to the pitch more than anything. Our lads love coming here,” said Kearney.

“I didn’t have in doubts about Neil taking the penalty. Sometimes you’re standing there waiting for the penalty to be taken and you can’t look, but I had faith in Neil, he had a good game up to that point and to be fair to him he put it away nicely.

Kearney was delighted with the performance of two-goal hero McCafferty and also his younger players as he sets about rebuilding his side.

“We’re in a bit of transition at the club.

“We lost Stevie Lowry and Davy McDaid who are two big players, but budget dictates everything and it’s not a case of being able to go out and do a lot to replenish that.

“Adam Mullan has about 15 starts at this level, he’s 18 years old and he played at left back today like Ronan Scannell. That’s the best way I could compliment him.

“Shane McGinty won us the penalty he’s only a hanful of appearances in this league.

“These sort of players are just starting to get to grips with this and if we can add them into the mix with the likes of Stephen Douglas and Neil McCafferty it will hopefully make us into a force and we can go and kick on and be competitive in games.

“I think today we showed that. We played some impressive stuff and the lads deserve a lot of credit for doing that.

“It’s very inportant that the senior players do the business for us. We have some really good experienced players through the spine of our team.

“It’s up to those guys, on the pitch especially, to take the younger players and help them through it.

“It’s about results and this league is not so much about development but getting the points so it’s important we get the results too.”

Kearney knows just how important it is for the Bannsiders to get a good run of results behind them now.

Derby rivals Ballymena are up next and a similar result would give everyone a massive boost

“We need to build on this now and make sure it’s not a one-off,” said Kearney.

“We played very well and it was a deserved win with that, but people won’t care about that two weeks down the line of we fall back into bad habits.

“The players had to show a lot of character to fight back after falling behind.

“We kept playing our football and held firm when Cliftonville put us under some pressure in the second half.

“A lot has been said about us recently but we know we have the players who are more than capable and this result shows that.

“There has been a lot of energy used up today so we’ll rest up and regroup ahead of Saturday’s derby encounter.”