Coleraine 2 Donegal Celtic 1
Published 18/12/2012 | 07:59
Coleraine may well have recovered from a confidence dip in time to salvage their bid for a top three finish.
As he watched his battling Bannsiders end a run of one win in six league games, boss Oran Kearney was relieved to see his players' confidence return against a Donegal Celtic side that delivered a shock with a first ever league success at the Showgrounds last season.
Back-to-back defeats by Glenavon and league leaders Cliftonville had Kearney anxious to avoid an unwanted first hat-trick of reverses since he took over the Showgrounds hot seat from David Platt in February 2011.
He said: “I can say what I want to players but the only thing that restores confidence is winning games.
“We are coming into a busy spell of matches and hopefully this will kick us on.”
There were numerous plus points for Kearney as his Bannsiders stopped the rot with a victory that coincided with the return of three key players.
Skipper David Ogilby made his first appearance after a two-month absence through injury, his central defensive partner Howard Beverland was back from suspension and out of favour frontman Darren Boyce marked his first start in four matches with a vital goal.
Goals either side of half-time by Curtis Allen and Boyce put Coleraine in control until substitute Ciaran Gargan's stunning left foot free kick threw Donegal Celtic a lifeline though Coleraine were good for their win.