Coleraine boss Oran Kearney pitches in with apology after dire blank
Coleraine couldn't pitch in with a goal to sink relegation haunted Warrenpoint Town on Saturday but frustrated manager Oran Kearney refused to lay the blame at the feet of his players.
It was the poor state of the undulating Showgrounds surface that taxed the normally unflappable boss.
Kearney admitted the goalless fare was nothing short of a yuletide yawn and apologised to Coleraine fans whose reward for putting off last minute Christmas shopping was a dull and dreary encounter on a cold and grey December afternoon.
"I don't know if either team deserved anything at all," said Kearney. "I have to apologise to the supporters who made the effort to come and watch. Thankfully I don't have to do that too often but it was hard going at times.
"I'm unhappy about the pitch because of the way it changes how we play, especially at this time of the year."
Kearney would be happier with an artificial surface which, he argues, would enhance his side's free flowing style.
While the home manager was left stuck in a rut, Town boss Barry Gray was more than satisfied with the outcome.
"Coleraine is a tough place to come but we've worked hard to earn something," he said.
"It's our fifth point in three games and when you are at the bottom of the table looking up that is a very good result."
Town sub Johnny Breen passed over the chance to secure success for the visitors when he misfired late on, after teenage defender Lyndon Kane's slip in the box, but defender Steven Douglas saved the day for Coleraine.
Kearney's men, sixth place in the table, survived an early scare. Striker Ciaran O'Connor, who hit a match-winning double against Portadown in his previous outing, connected with Mark Hughes' left foot free kick but his header crashed against a post with keeper Michael Doherty stranded.
Warrenpoint appeals for a penalty were later ignored by referee Peter McGrath after clumsy Doherty sent O'Connor to ground inside the penalty area. To be fair, the striker did not make much play about the incident.
Coleraine stiker Ian Parkhill saw a first half shot deflected away by a defender and midfielder Neil McCafferty cracked a 20 yard free kick inches off the mark. Mark Miskimmin also blasted a Joe McNeill pass over the bar.
For Warrenpoint, Stephen Hughes had successive attempts blocked and Jonathan Cowan saw his shot miss the goal before the break.
In the second half, Gary Browne replaced fellow striker Miskimmin to lift Coleraine's flagging fortunes and when Kane and Howard Beverland linked up to provide Parkhill with an opening, the striker wastefully skied the ball.
Later Parkhill directed Browne's excellent left wing cross into the arms of keeper Johnny Parr.
Then Breen summed up a mediocre 90 minutes, failing to nail his chance when Kane slipped inside the danger area and, after watching his feeble shot come off the feet of Doherty, impressive ex-Linfield defender Douglas stepped in to clear his lines and ensure the contest would finish goalless with each side wrapping up their pre-Christmas schedules with an additional point for their efforts.