Glentoran 0 Coleraine 0
Published 18/09/2012 | 07:59
The evidence that Eddie Patterson has Glentoran on the road to recovery is there for all to see.
And he’s not prepared to take any U-turns en-route to achieving success.
Going down to 10-men against Coleraine on Saturday brought about a tactical alteration from the Oval boss, but not for one minute did he consider a change in approach.
The 0-0 draw was good enough for the Glens to maintain their status as the only unbeaten team in the Danske Bank Premiership seven games into the season and that was also enough to keep the fans happy as the players left the field at the end to rapturous applause.
Even the Glentoran manager, who has had his run-ins with officials, agreed with referee Raymond Crangle's decision to brandish his red card at Mark Clarke eight minutes before half-time
Throughout the second half the Glens continued to keep the ball down as they sought openings, even when at times it looked like sending it over the top for Andy Waterworth to chase looked a decent option.
Sacrificing style in favour of substance might suit some, but Patterson was happy to take a single point, knowing that it had been gained his way.
“While we wanted to defend in the second half — we spoke before the game about the importance of keeping a clean sheet — we wanted to try to keep playing football rather than going route one,” said Patterson.
“We could have done that and tried to use Andy Waterworth's pace, but we don't want to move away from what we are trying to do.
“On the one occasion we did go long to Andy he almost got in only for David Ogilby to get back and make a great block.
“We set out looking for three points, but circumstances changed, we had to adapt. In the end it was a point earned by us and a point that we should be pleased to have collected.”
The Glens mindset became one of, ‘if we can't win the game then make absolutely sure that we don't lose it’, which may have been the case in the not too distant past.
“It was a game that last season we probably would have ended up losing,” said Patterson. “The fans have been great. They can see what we are trying to do and I've said to the players that it's the badge on their chest that they are playing for and if the fans see that they have the commitment to that and the desire to achieve then those fans will back them all the way.”
Coleraine boss Oran Kearney contemplated two points that got away from his team as a wry smile broke out across his face in recognition of the Glens holding on to what they had.
“It's funny how things have worked in reverse in our games,” said Kearney.
“When we lost to Cliftonville I complained that we'd conceded three goals from set-pieces and then the next week we got some success with goals from free-kicks.
“Last week we played better against Distillery when we went down to 10-men and this time Glentoran looked strong after having the man sent-off.
“We had a few sniffs and although I was raging with Stephen Lowry when he attempted the shot from 25 or 30 yards he managed to hit the post, but I'm disappointed that we didn't create more clear cut chances.
“Even though we were up against 10-men for the best part of an hour I suppose I can't really complain about coming to the Oval and taking a point.”