Dungannon Swifts 1 Coleraine 1
It was, predictably, honours even after a match which was lively enough but failed to live up to expectations.
Doubtless, the pre-match pep talks will have highlighted to both dressing rooms the need for victory. Seven previous draws for Swifts and six for the Bannsiders will have left plenty of room for regret at chances which went abegging.
Swifts boss Darren Murphy, however, offered no excuses for sharing the spoils yet again.
“I am happy with the performance, the players gave their all and that is all you can ask. I think a draw is a fair result, we pushed for the win but it wasn’t to be.
“We had three suspended and a couple injured but those absences weren’t a factor in this game – that is what a squad is for. I will only cry about injuries and suspensions when I can’t get 11 players on the pitch” said Murphy.
Opposite number Oran Kearney, after watching Coleraine’s fourth successive 1-1 draw, felt his side were worthy of all three points.
“I am disappointed that on our second half showing, we didn’t get the win. There wasn’t a lot to choose between the teams in the first half, we made a mistake and were punished for it. We had a couple of half chances that we didn’t take.”
Coleraine’s goal hero substitute Curtis Allen reacted perfectly to being dropped from the starting line-up for this game.
“Curtis didn’t start in this game purely down to my choice. Last week’s performance just wasn’t good enough and Curtis is no different to any other player. Maybe that was the wee rocket that Curtis needs” said Kearney.
Swifts led after half an hour through the enterprising Josh Cahoon, a well-taken 12-yard strike following good work by Neal Gawley to carve out the opening and Allen bagged the equaliser seven minutes after the introduction of all three Coleraine substitutes.
The former Linfield ace dispatched a superb volley, on the turn, into the net, despite a valiant saving attempt by Niall Morgan.
“I thought we played well but, after giving away a soft goal, we have to be disappointed not to have taken all the points,” reflected Swifts front man Chris Lavery
“I had a chance near the end. If I’m honest, the ball was a little late coming to me, causing me to change my run and, by that time, the chance was gone.
“We played well in the first half, attacked from wide positions and had them on the back-foot throughout. They only had one real chance, outside of the goal.
“We played well but we would be always happier taking one point than taking none.”