Coleraine extended their unbeaten run to 11 games with a comfortable victory over Carrick Rangers, who had Stephen O’Neill sent off for two yellow cards.
“It was a fantastic win for us,” said boss Oran Kearney. “I was concerned coming into the game as we had a number of players missing. I think our performance today showed the strength we have at the club.
“Carrick have picked up a few decent results in the last couple weeks so we were taken nothing for granted but, thankfully, we played well.
“I think the third goal really made the difference. At 2-0 up, you still have a concern but the goal before half time made life a little easier.”
The star of the show for the Bannsiders was in-form Curtis Allen, who bagged a hat-trick of close range strikes to take his season’s tally to 18 — nine of which have come in the last eight games.
“Curtis was brilliant today,” added Kearney. “You could say he scored all three goals from close range, but for the first and second goal he read a situation that no one else on the pitch was able to. He's in red-hot form at the moment and long may it continue.”
It wasn't Allen who started the scoring, but rather his team- mate Gareth Tommons, whose 17th minute mis-hit cross from the right flank evaded goalkeeper Maros Valko.