Bosses Oran Kearney and Gerard Lyttle take comfort as Cliftonville and Coleraine draw
Coleraine 0-0 Cliftonville
The fear of losing gripped the closing stages of Saturday's Showgrounds stalemate.
Both managers admitted they had settled for the draw long before Coleraine's young winger Brad Lyons raced into the Cliftonville box and steered his left foot shot the wrong side of the near post.
It was only the second scoreless draw between the sides in 27 meetings over five and a half years. This clash should have produced goals too, but Coleraine keeper Michael Doherty and his defenders displayed true grit.
At the other end debutant Levi Ives, the former Torquay United left back, shone brightly alongside Marc Smyth, former Northern Ireland U-21 centre back Johnny Flynn and the equally impressive full-back Tomas Cosgrove.
Coleraine midfielder Darren McCauley was the only player to succeed in finding the net. However, his second half header off Ruairi Harkin's free kick was cancelled out because the referee's assistant ruled he was in an offside position.
"Some of our players close to it did not think the decision was correct," said Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. "It's a snap call and once it was made we had to reluctantly accept it.
"I'm pleased we got something from the game. I think you reach a stage near the end when you simply do not want to take risks that might lead to conceding a goal. I reckon a draw was a fair outcome."
New Reds boss Gerard Lyttle agreeing, said: "Coleraine has never been an easy place for us to come and I am satisfied."
Cliftonville's unbeaten run under Lyttle has stretched to eight games, while Coleraine are unbeaten in six.
COLERAINE: Doherty, Kane, Beverland, Douglas, Mullan, McCauley (Parkhill, 66 mins), Harkin, McCafferty, Lyons, Brown, McLaughlin (McGonigle, 84 mins). Unused subs: Higgins, Falconer, Watt.
Cliftonville: Burke, Ives, Flynn, Smyth, Cosgrove, Catney, Knowles, Curran (McDaid, 88 mins), J Donnelly, M Donnelly (M Murray, 83 mins), Garrett (C Murray, 68 mins). Unused subs: McGovern, Winchester.
Man of the match: Levi Ives
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)