Frustrating day as leaders ‘Crues’ past Bannsiders

Neil McCafferty celebrates his penalty. '''photo:Derek Simpson
Neil McCafferty celebrates his penalty. '''photo:Derek Simpson

Oran Kearney cut a frustrated figure on Saturday as his Coleraine side were put to the sword by champions-elect Crusaders.

But what made it more difficult for the Bannsiders boss was his side were largely arcitects of their own downfall.

Slack defending left them with a mountain to climb as the Crues raced through the gears to all but seal the league title.

All this after Neil McCafferty had put the hosts in front with his 14th goal of the season, coolly slotting in from the spot after Darren McCauley had been upended with 20 minutes gone.

But a free kick from Bill Joe Burns and a brace apiece from Hordan Owens and Paul Heatley completed a bad day for Coleraine.

“Going into the day I think we had the fourth or fifth best defensive record in the League, that’s why it’s so disappointing how we defended today,” he told Times Sport.

“You have to ask how many goals did Crusaders earn, that’s the frustrating side of things for me.

“We didn’t start the game well. Doc had to make a save after only 20 seconds or so. We then forced our way into the game and got our penalty.

“But straight from the kick off they pump a high ball down the pitch and win a free kick. I couldn’t see why at the time and I’ve watched it back on the television and I still can’t see why the referee awarded it.

“That got them back in the game and we put our heads down and the next two goals are very disappointing from our point of view.

“The ball for the second goal travels a huge distance in the air. Doc wasn’t sure about it at the time but after watching it back he admitted he should have come for it.

“We could all tell from off the pitch as soon as the ball left Burns’ foot ‘OG’ looked to be in trouble as he was wrong side, Doc couldn’t see that and shouted ‘away’ rather than come for it.

“The ball travelled even further for the third, but I’ll take nothing away from Owens’ finish, but it’s very frustrating for us.

“We carry that on in the second half. Doc is at fault for the fourth and we allowed Heatley a free header for the fifth.”

Kearney was also left frustrated by referee Ian McNabb

“We went up to Belfast a couple of weeks ago for a referee’s workshop. The big thing that night was decisions are black and white and how strict the rule book is.

Timmy Adamson picked up a yellow card early on and then catches one of our players with a trailing arm in front of the referee just before half time,” he said.

“Now the ref gives the free kick for the offence but he doesn’t produce another yellow card and send the player off.

“I spoke to him at half time and asked him why he didn’t and he admitted we had every right to feel aggrieved and he said it did cross his mind to send him off but he chose not to.

“I said to him about the seminar and how a decision is either black or white, an elbow is a yellow card but he didn’t get one today.

“I said to the ref that if he hadn’t already been on a yellow I know he would have shown him a card then.

“The perspective of the game would have changed if they had gone down to ten.”