Belfast Telegraph

Oran Kearney given 'full backing' of Coleraine chairman

By Kevin Hughes Jnr

Coleraine 0 Dungannon Swifts 2: Coleraine will not give up on manager Oran Kearney despite the side's alarming form dip.

Chairman Colin McKendry last night insisted Kearney was the right man for the job even though he has managed just one win in the last dozen matches.

McKendry admitted he was disappointed that the Bannsiders had failed to halt a run of six defeats on Saturday when they lost at home to Dungannon Swifts but argued that nobody on the board believed the manager was incapable of halting the slide.

McKendry said: "The board is fully behind Oran.

"We believe he can overcome the current challenges, although it is disappointing that this run of defeats is lasting so long."

Coleraine have only three home wins in the Premiership so far – two against the sides below them in the table, Ards and Warrenpoint Town.

But Kearney has no intention of walking away and believes his players can bounce back with a win over rivals Ballymena United on Boxing Day.

"Statistics aren't a factor when it comes to derbies," he said. "The players will be pumped up for it without any doubt.

"Losing can become a habit just as winning can but, from what I have seen again, I feel we are not far away from success," he added.

Coleraine flopped in front of goal countless times before Terry Fitzpatrick put Dungannon ahead on the hour and Stefan Lavery added their second 10 minutes from time.

Swifts boss Darren Murphy praised referee John Deighan for overruling his assistant, who flagged for offside when Lavery scored after home midfielder Michael Hegarty's backheader had provided the game's opening goal.

Swifts went closest to scoring in the first-half with Matt Hazley striking the crossbar from a free-kick.

Coleraine continued to misfire. Bradley smashed a volley over the bar and defender Aaron Canning also failed to find the target. Winger Stephen Carson surged into the box, but sent his shot the wrong side of the near post.

On the hour, Hazley's corner was missed by keeper Wayne Drummond and Fitzpatrick glanced a header into the net.

Ten minutes from time, Hegarty's clever back header enabled unmarked Lavery to secure the win by doubling Swifts' lead with a close-range finish in front of goal.

Coleraine: Drummond, Canning, Douglas, Ogilby, Watt, Hegarty, Harkin, Carson, Tommons (J Bradley, 66, mins), E Bradley, Owens (Jennings, 64 mins). Unused subs. Moore, McMullan, Lindsay.

DUNGANNON: Buchanan, Brennan, McMinn (Lowe, 50 mins), Fitzpatrick, Grieve, McCaffrey, Hutchinson, Hazley, S Lavery, Harpur, Topley. Unused subs: Burns, C Lavery, Costello, Glackin.

Referee: John Deighan (Limavady).

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