Kearney pleased with second half response

Gareth Tommons forces the ball into the Glenavon net at Mourneview to put Coleraine on level terms''photo: Derek Simpson
Gareth Tommons forces the ball into the Glenavon net at Mourneview to put Coleraine on level terms''photo: Derek Simpson

IT’S a bit of a cliché, but as Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney admitted afterwards, it really was the proverbial game of two halves.

In all honesty Kearney’s men should have been out of the game after the first 45 minutes as Glenavon created numerous chances in a dominant first half display.

Thankfully for Coleraine though Brendan Shannon’s 11th minute opener, the Lurgan Blues skipper catching out Michael Doherty with a first time volley.

Former Derry City striker Mark Farren should have added to the hosts’ score, but he was twice denied by great saves from Doherty to keep his side in touching distance.

And how that proved vital. For seven minutes after the restart Gareth Tommons forced the ball home after Davey O’Hare had palmed Jamie Tomelty’s piledriver on to the bar.

And that set the tone for the second half as O’Hare was at his best to keep out his former employees on several occasions. Curtis Allen should have scored though when he raced through on O’Hare’s goal just after the equaliser, but his shot went agonisingly wide of the mark.

“It was the proverbial game of two halves for us today,” Kearney told Times Sport.

“Glenavon probably should have had the game out of sight by half time, then after the break we dominated things and we had numerous opportunities to put the game out of sight.

“So probably overall a draw is a fair result, but in saying that because we were on top in the second half I sort of hoped we would come away with a bit more.

“It was a bit of a relief for us to get in at half time only one goal down though.

“It was one of the things we said to the players at the break that the only positive from the first half display was that we were only one goal down.

“We had got away with it to be honest.

“It’s frustrating for me though, I’ve every right to have a go at half time and before the game and have an expectation whenever they deliver a second half performance like that when you get the quality of chances created and the quality of some of the football we played was fantastic.

“As I’ve been saying for a while now the story of our season has been our inability to put the ball into the net and it has come back to haunt us again today.”

Kearney was pleased with the performance of midfielder Ruairi Harkin, who came off the bench to drive the Bannsiders on in the second half and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet.

“Ruairi missed the game against Crusaders when he pulled his quad in the warm up and since then Gareth Tommons has come in and done really well,” said Kearney.

“As hard as it is to leave him out, especially given the quality he has, you have to be fair to the guys who have done well.

“Tommo grabbed the goal today, but I thought he looked a bit lethargic today compared to what he had done in recent weeks.

“Ruairi helped drive us on when he came on and you’d have to say he’ll start on Tuesday after a performance like that.”