Oran Kearney delighted with Coleraine win over title rivals Crusaders
Danske Bank Premiership: Coleraine 4 Crusaders 2
COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney believes Saturday’s victory over title rivals Crusaders was a result the Bannsiders needed after dropping points to more lowly opposition recently.
Kearney’s men inflicted the first defeat of the season on league leaders Crusaders after coming back from a goal down at the Showgrounds. Former Coleraine forward Jamie McGonigle had put the visitors in front only for the hosts to hit back through Ben Doherty and Eoin Bradley either side of a Jordan Owens own-goal.
Jamie Glackin added a fourth before Chris Hegarty headed a consolation goal for Crusaders, who saw their lead at the top halved to three points.
Coleraine have also put four past champions Linfield in claiming victory at Windsor Park so far this season, but Kearney has been frustrated by points dropped that he believes were there for the taking.
“Yesterday was a good three points and it helped narrow the gap at the top of the table,” he said.
“But I’ve been disappointed by some of our other performances so far this season. We’ve already picked up four red cards, which I feel could have been avoided and certainly would have made things easier for ourselves in certain games.
“We dropped points in games we should have won, such as at home to Institute, and that has frustrated me. We’re probably four or five points worse off than we should be.
“This is why it was so important to get the victory,” Kearney, who is in his second stint as Coleraine manager, added.
“The energy we showed from the start and the way in which we applied ourselves was particularly pleasing. Crusaders are a very good team, so I was delighted on the final whistle.”
With five points separating the top four in the Danske Bank Premiership table and Linfield further back with four games in hand – including tonight’s trip to Carrick Rangers – Baxter feels pre-season predictions of the tightest title race in years are proving accurate.
“Everybody can beat everybody else in this league at the minute,” he said.
“I mean, we beat Crusaders 4-2 on Saturday and another day they could do exactly the same to us. Teams are going to find it extremely hard to put a big run of wins together.”
Also on Saturday, Cliftonville’s 1-0 victory over Institute had a cloud cast over it by an injury early in the game to Levi Ives. It is understood Ives has suffered a fracture in his foot and could be out for up to three months.
A Ruaidhrí Donnelly header was enough to get the better of ’Stute, whose goalkeeper Paul Wells saved Ryan Curran’s second-half penalty before doing well to stop Conor McMenamin finding the net.
Elsewhere, Glenavon come from a goal down to beat Ballymena United 3-1. Cathair Friel gave Ballymena an early lead, but Gary Hamilton's side responded with a Rhys Marshall strike before the interval. A Steven McCullough own goal and Jordan Jenkins' late strike ensured the three points for the Lurgan Blues.
Patrick McClean scored an injury-time header to give Glentoran a dramatic 2-1 win over Warrenpoint at the Oval, while Larne played out a goalless draw with Dungannon at Inver Park.