Portadown 2 Coleraine 0: It was a case of ‘Crisis – what crisis?’ as Coleraine manager David Platt reflected on six-out-of-six Carling Premiership games without a point or a goal.
“We’ll turn the corner soon,” said Platt as his Bannsiders stayed firmly anchored at the bottom of the table.
“We can’t go on having zero luck like this.
“As for me quitting, that’s all down to media speculation. It hasn’t crossed my mind and, as long at the Coleraine board keeps backing me, I’ll continue to work hard and get us moving up the league.”
Certainly, Coleraine had no breaks in this game. Portadown’s 51st minute opener went down as an own goal by Paul Brown following Neil McCafferty’s free-kick delivery.
“I thought it took a deflection,” said McCafferty afterwards. “But I’d like to claim it as my first for Portadown.”
However, action replays showed the ball struck Brown’s knee en route to the net. On top of that, Coleraine had one cleared off the line — a Darren Boyce effort hacked away by Ross Redman — and towards the end, the unfortunate Brown and Stephen Lowry saw efforts hit the post as they strained for the Bannsiders’ first league goal.
Still, Portadown deserved to edge the game. They had more pattern to their play, missed a plethora of chances, and were up against an in-form keeper, Davy O’Hare, whose early double save from Wesley Boyle and Tim Mouncey even had the Ports fans on their feet.
O’Hare must, however, take some of the blame for Kevin Braniff’s decider on 69 minutes. His opposite number David Miskelly hoofed a goal kick into the danger area, O’Hare came racing out but was easily beaten to the ball by Braniff who rounded him deftly and rolled it home from an acute angle.
After that, Coleraine pressed hard, with shots from Lowry and Brown hitting the same post and continuing their team’s goalless agony.
Ports manager Ronnie McFall said: “We’ve made a few changes over the close season and new signings Shane McCabe and Neil McCafferty are blending well.
“We played the better football, and scored a couple of goals.
“Our poor start to the league has been something of a hangover from the Europa League. But we’re getting into our stride now and have registered seven points from our last three matches — and frankly, that should have been nine as we threw away two points in midweek at Donegal Celtic.”