Coleraine captain Howard Beverland says it’s important his side take the positives from Saturday’s draw with Crusaders.
The Bannsiders were left stunned as the nine-man Crues stole a point with Stephen O’Flynn’s last minute header.
But despite the frustration of letting two points slip at the death, Beverland told Times Sport it is important Coleraine kick on again.
“It feels like a defeat at the minute to be honest because we had executed the game plan so well, and all the preparation that went into the game on to the performance out on the pitch against the league champions and only come away with anything but a victory is very disappointing.
“I feel we would have been worthy winners.
“I know people may look back and say they were down to nine men, but even when they were at full strength we were doing well. We were restricting them to few chances and playing well.
“Overall though despite being disappointed we have a lot of positives to take out of the game especially when we look at how far we’ve come as a team.
“It says it all when we’re disappointed only getting a point against the champions when in other years we were looking to keep the scores down.
“Oran said to us after the match to look at the two teams out on the pitch today and the average ages of the squads.
“The Crues are packed with experienced players whereas we have a very young squad so it is very promising for the future.
“At the same time the young players have to be quick learners in this league, yes we want to develop players, but we all need to learn how to play at this level quickly so as we can challenge for honours now and not another two or three years further down the line.”
Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney echoed his skipper’s sentiments as he praised his young players for the way they bounced back from last week’d defeat at Glenavon.
“It’s well documented we have a lot of young lads playing so to take the league champions on today, and in the manner that we took them on with such inexperience is the bit which pleases me the most,” he told Times Sport.
“We have filled our boots with young lads this season, they are local lads as well which is important to me and imporatnt to the club as well.
“It’s been a long time since this club has had a real local identity and I think it makes a difference to the people in the stands and it makes a difference on the pitch as well.
“There’s still plenty of work to do, there’s a lot of inexperience there, but in the same stretch if they keep pushing on like the way we did today we’ll make good progress.”
Coleraine head to Portadown this Saturday with Beverland determined to keep the intensity going.
“We’ve had a few tough games over the last few weeks. We were very disappointed by the Glenavon performance and rightly so,” he added.
“But it was pleasing to see how we bounced back today because in previous years we might have rolled out today with a similar performance especially against the league champions.
“It shows we have raised the bar back up again, but we have to keep hitting it every week.”