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Coleraine 1 Cliftonville 5

By Tom Roberts

Oran Kearney won’t reach for the panic button after Coleraine's sensational five-goal thrashing by Cliftonville.

As Reds counterpart Tommy Breslin turns his focus on a top-of-the-table clash with Ballymena United tomorrow night, Bannsiders boss Kearney admits he is tempted to ring the changes for the trip to Donegal Celtic.

“Apart from the important fact that we didn't score in a first half which we dominated, I thought we played our best football of the season so far,” said Kearney.

“From that point of view I might not want to change things and I won't make a knee-jerk reaction.

“I'll take time to analyse the situation. We have a squad of 21 players and I'll admit it is hard to call for me. There are players who are naturally eager to step in.

“I have mixed emotions, but I will reserve judgement until nearer the game.”

Breslin saw his side end a five-year wait for success at the Showgrounds, but admitted the outcome could have been so different if Coleraine had scored when they were in the ascendancy.

Joe Gormley, Liam Boyce and Stephen Garrett plus substitutes Barry Johnston and Diarmuid O'Carroll found the net after the Reds soaked up intense pressure from the home side.

“On another day we could have been on the wrong end of a similar result,” said Brelin. “We were poor in the first half and fortunate not to have gone behind.

“The players responded to a bit of an ear bashing at the break when I had to tell a few home truths. It wasn't pretty, but it proved effective.”

Darren Boyce, Curtis Allen, Ryan McIlmoye and Ruairi Harkin all failed to register before Gormley rose to head in Liam Boyce's cross just on half-time.

Reds keeper Connor Devlin denied Darren Boyce whose header looked destined for the net until Devlin steered the ball away.

Within 90 second Liam Boyce outpaced the home defence to beat keeper Michael Doherty and Garrett stabbed the ball home from Marty Donnelly's corner eight minutes later.

Substitute Paul Owens pulled one back for Coleraine, but Johnston's long range goal punished keeper Michael Doherty's poor clearance and O'Carroll added an injury time fifth.

Kearney added: “Cliftonville deserve credit for being more ruthless in from of goal when they got on top.

“We got what we deserved. The simple fact is that you cannot afford to defend so poorly and when Cliftonville got a sniff of a chance they took it.

“It was not what we were expecting and I think we owe it to our fans to respond at DC.”

Belfast Telegraph


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