Coleraine had Showgrounds 'rocking' for win over Linfield - Oran Kearney
Danske Bank Premiership: Coleraine 3 Linfield 0
COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney has said the raucous atmosphere created by the crowd at Ballycastle Road on Saturday played a big part as reigning Irish League champions Linfield were dismissed in comprehensive fashion.
The Bannsiders took the lead against David Healy's side early on via a Lyndon Kane penalty, which was awarded when referee Steven Gregg adjudged that Linfield striker Ethan Devine had blocked a Matthew Shevlin shot with his arm.
Linfield huffed and puffed in the second-half, going close with a Jimmy Callacher header that went wide and a Jordan Stewart effort that was well blocked by Aaron Jarvis. But Coleraine doubled their lead on 75 minutes when they nicked back possession and, when the ball fell to Shevlin in the box, he turned smartly before finding the net with a clinical finish past Blues 'keeper Chris Johns.
The icing on the Coleraine cake arrived with five minutes remaining when they broke well after Linfield had hit the crossbar, with Stephen Lowry feeding Jamie Glackin, who blasted home at the near post.
“I think the result and the performance speaks for itself,” said Kearney of a win that moves them into the top half of the Danske Bank Premiership.
“To get a result against these full-time teams now, in particular, you need the whole thing to be rocking and you need everybody to be on it. To a man today, we were on it from the word go right to the end and it was a great performance.
“We knew Linfield would bring a big following with them with where they're at at this point in time in the league. We also knew it would bring a lot of people back out again as well, so again with that, it's important that you get a performance to go with it.
“Hopefully everybody has gone home happy today but, more importantly, that they come back next week.”
Kearney was disappointed with the nature of Tuesday's last gasp defeat to Glentoran at the Oval but his side more than made up for that with a morale boosting performance in front of their home fans against the Blues, and he was delighted with how clinical they were in front of goal.
“It shows the character we have in the changing room that we've never doubted,” he added.
“There wasn't time for people to panic or whatever else or feel sorry for themselves. We have just gone and got right out there with another big performance.
“We were just clinical today we created a good level of chances but, more importantly, we just made good decisions and good quality finishes today. I think, in particular, the second and third goals are really helpful because you know Linfield are going to push you, you know they're going to ask questions of you, so it's important that when you get those opportunities at the other end you take them.”
The result at Coleraine allowed Glentoran to leapfrog Linfield at the top of the table as they squeezed past Warrenpoint Town at the Oval. Robbie McDaid's first-half header proved just about enough to secure all three points against the Premiership's basement club and move the Glens into top spot.
An early Peter Campbell header secured Glenavon a win on the road against Crusaders at Seaview, while in-form Dungannon Swifts beat Carrick Rangers 3-2 at Stangmore Park.
In Saturday's late kick-off, Lee Bonis was at the double as Larne cruised to a 4-0 win over Portadown at Inver Park. Kofi Balmer struck in between Bonis' brace, with substitute Navid Nasseri grabbing the fourth.