Coleraine 3 Lisburn Distillery 1
When opportunity knocked for hometown hero Kyle McVey, he made the most of it with a man of the match performance against basement battlers Lisburn Distillery.
Coleraine's long suffering centre-back — hit by a series of serious injuries in recent years — has made only a dozen starts this season but took a starring role when he stepped in to replace skipper David Ogilby at the Showgrounds on Saturday.
Ogilby's omission raised a few eyebrows. However, Bannsiders' boss Oran Kearney revealed that his influential captain is fighting a battle to regain fitness after returning last month from a 10-week lay-off with a muscle injury.
Kearney said: “Form is temporary and class is permanent. That's the way it is with David. He is still a massive player and a massive part of this club.”
But Coleraine man McVey did not stand on sentiment, producing a top rate performance at the back. He marked his return with a goal, his third of the season, heading in Ryan McIlmoyle's cross on the stroke of half-time.
Despite the Whites' attempted comeback, Kearney was satisfied with his team's response to their embarrassing 5-1 reverse against Ballinamallard in midweek.
Admiring their work rate he said: “They put in a lot of challenges which was something we didn't do against Ballinamallard. There were a lot of positives to take from the performance.
“When good players work hard generally you get results and thankfully our application was super and they got the reward.”
Kearney's opposite number Tim McCann also took a positive angle despite another setback in their relegation battle.
The former Cliftonville and Glentoran star said: “We were a much better team in the second half and I thought we deserved to score more than one goal.”
Coleraine, desperate to remain in the top six when the league splits, had completed the job by half-time when they were three goals up.
Stephen Lowry headed his eight goal of the season when he met defender Aaron Canning's cross after 16 minutes. Lowry supplied the assist for midfield colleague Ruairi Harkin to beat keeper Lee Windrum seven minutes later and before the break McVey headed home McIlmoyle's cross.
Owain Beggs bagged his first league goal this season just seconds after the restart to pull one back for the Whites.