A game of two halves

Darren McCauley shows Oran Kearney a little of what he can do.'photo:Derek Simpson
Darren McCauley shows Oran Kearney a little of what he can do.'photo:Derek Simpson

It may not have been the result he wanted but Coleraine boss Oran Kearney was pleased with the response his side produced against Glentoran.

Kearney had urged his side to produce a response after the midweek drubbing by Crusaders.

The Bannsiders were well beaten by the Shore Road outfit, who produced some scintilating goals on the night.

To be fair to Kearney’s men though their performance on Saturday was a marked improvement.

On another say they would have taken something from the game and Kearney praised the players’ attitude afterwards.

“It has been a tough week for the players obviously, but for me it was about getting the response,” he told Times Sport.

“People will look at the result and probablyy say it wasn’t a response, but for what I got today from the players, with the character they have shown to bounce back from Tuesday night, I have to take positives out of it.

“For long periods of the second half we were camped in Glentoran’s half, and we were unfortunate not to score. If we had been able to pull a goal back it would have really kicked us on.

“The longer it goes on and the longer you knock on the door there’s always a risk that you get caught with the sucker punch.

“We were just lacking that wee bit of a killer edge today. We dominated large chunks of the second half and were camped in their half for 35-40 minutes.

“We had two or three decent opportunities but we didn’t get the opportunity to finish them. There was a couple of debatable offside calls too.”

The hosts had the better of the first half with Michael Doherty called into action on several occassions.

However, they edged in front thanks to a massive stroke of luck as Fra McCaffrey’s attempted through ball deflected off Howard Beverland and into the net past the helpless Doherty.

“When you’re down there the wee things always seem to go against you and the first goal just epitomised that,” said Kearney.

“With that and the baggage from Tuesday night you start thinking is it going to be a tough day, but credit to our lads they stepped up and kicked on and were very unfortunate not to get something out of the game.

“That’s football, you stick a leg out a leg to block a shot and sometimes it goes against you like today. We should have stopped the move earlier on.”

Kearney was pleased to be able to call on the services of skipper Beverland again after a he picked up an injury in the Linfield game.

And the Bannsiders boss praised bot him and defensive partner Stephen Douglas.

“Stephen obviously has a lot of experience and talks a lot and I think that’s something which has been missing in recent weeks,” said Kearney.

“Howard was back from injury too today which also gave us a big boost.

“We’ve a couple more players who are almost back in contention again, and if we continue to show the application and attitude that we did today then we’ll win more than we lose.”

Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson was full of praise for the Bannsiders at the final whistle.

Patterson admitted he was glad to see David Scullion’s late second arrive.

“At half time we spoke about the amount of chances we had missed and we were worried about getting hit by a sucker punch,” he said.

“As I say you have to give credit to Oran for the way his team came out for the second half. We were fortunate Coleraine didn’t take advantage of their dominance, they played some decent stuff during that time.

“We made things difficult for ourselves in the first half as we missed quite a few chances and we only went into the break 1-0 up.

“The second half was a completely different ball game. You have to give Coleraine a lot of credit, they put a lot of pressure on us.

“I think what went against us was losing Kym Nelson just after half time.

“That disrupted us and the substitution we put on didn’t work, so we had to change our shape again after about 15 minutes or so. That helped us a bit and then ‘Scully’s’ goal made it comfortable for us.

“It was an unbelievable finish by ‘Scully’ to seal the win. The fact that he controlled it and kept it down.

“There was a few other chances today if they had been able to do the same we would have been more comfortable.

“But we are a young inexperienced side and those sort of inconsistencies are normal. Today was another big game for us and hopefully the experience is starting to drill into the boys now.

“It’s encouraging that we created so many good chances in the first half, Michael Doherty has made two or three great saves.

“On another day we take those chances and make things a lot easier for ourselves, but that’s football.”