Belfast Telegraph

Warren Feeney fury at officials

Linfield 1-1 Coleraine

By Ian Callender

Warren Feeney is refusing to panic despite Linfield picking up only one point from their first two matches of 2015 - and seeing Crusaders overturn a four points deficit to take over at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

Having lost to their north Belfast rivals on New Year's Day, Coleraine were the latest party poopers at Windsor Park on Saturday with a last-kick-of-the-match equaliser leaving the Blues boss more angry with the officials than his players.

"We have given up top spot but we've been on a fantastic run," said Feeney.

"It's been a tough time but I told the boys not to get down. We know what we have to do and next week we focus on the (Irish) Cup. It will be a hard game (against Tobermore) but it's important to get back to winning ways.

"Everyone knows the officials have a hard job to do but they had an awful game. (Niall) Quinn was booked for a tackle when he won the ball, Andy (Waterworth) was down injured and the referee played on and then he booked him for asking a question. It must have been some question!"

Much like Jose Mourinho, however, who saw his Chelsea side surrender the outright lead across the water by dropping five points in two games over the holiday period, and then launched a verbal attack on the officials, Feeney was covering up his side's failure to see out a game which they had controlled for 88 minutes.

Andy Waterworth's 13th goal of the season, in the 59th minute, was reward for their early second half dominance but, after failing to kick on and double their advantage, it was backs to the wall for the last six minutes, including stoppage time.

The destroyer was Neil McCafferty, who curled a 94th minute free kick from 25 yards into the top corner of the net, his seventh such goal from 11 this season and afterwards admitted he doesn't even practice them in training.

"To tell you the truth, I don't actually train too much," said the 30-year-old who moved from Portadown in the summer.

"I play every minute of every game and over Christmas especially I'm just getting through games. Oran (Kearney, the manager) knows the situation. I don't need to do too much during the week. I'm a person who goes to the gym a couple of times a week anyhow. So, no, I haven't been practising all year but they have been going in so I'm not going to change now."

"The ref told me it would be the last kick of the match and once I hit it, I knew it was up and over and was going in. Free kicks don't matter if you don't get a result, so it was nice to get something out of the game."

It was still only a point - Coleraine haven't won at Windsor for four years - in the scrap for a top half place with just eight games left before the split.

"The top four seem to be sorted with Glentoran pushing to get into it and we're in a mini league with Ballymena and Glenavon pushing for a top six place," added McCafferty.

"We've brought Matthew Snoddy in (signed minutes too late to make his debut on Saturday) and that's a good addition but we have a massive game in the Irish Cup next week (against Warrenpoint) and if we can get a good run in that and sneak into the top six it will be a good season for us."

Linfield have a two-week wait before they can repair the damage to their league title challenge but Feeney is grateful for the break after two hard games in 48 hours and, although Jimmy Callacher was stretchered off with what looked like a bad knee injury, there was the boost of long-term absentee Peter Thompson returning to side as a second half substitute.

"Peter played 60 minutes in the reserves last week and it was good to have him back," said Feeney.

"We needed to freshen things up because it's a hard ask for the boys to play 90 minutes and then another 90 minutes. Ross Clarke has only trained a couple of days but that's another 45 minutes for him and he's pushing for a starting place."

An initial scan on Callacher's knee revealed no break but it is too early to say when he will available to return to action.

LINFIELD: Ross Glendinning, Reece Glendinning, Ward, Callacher, Quinn, Sproule, Lowry, Mulgrew, Burns, Morrow, Waterworth. Substitutions: Clarke (Burns, 46 mins), Thompson (Morrow, 61 mins), Clucus (Callacher, 72 mins).

COLERAINE: Doherty; Kane, Canning, Ogilby, Mullan, McGinty, Hegarty, McCafferty, McNeill, Barton; Parkhill. Substitute: Miskimmin (Barton, 64 mins)

Man of the match:

Ross Clarke (pictured)

Match rating:

6/10

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

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