Glentoran fail to adapt to a new system ahead of cup final
Glentoran 1 Coleraine 1: Angry Eddie Patterson rapped his Glentoran players for failing to provide him with a pre-Irish Cup final boost ahead of Saturday's Windsor Park battle with Cliftonville.
It took an 88th minute equaliser from club captain Colin Nixon – in his last appearance at the Oval in a Glentoran shirt – to secure a 1-1 draw with Coleraine and save the Glens from going into the decider on the back of a defeat.
Other than winger Stephen Carson being left on the bench until the latter stages of the game, Patterson's line-up looked very much like the one he will send out against the Reds on the big day.
And with Cup final places probably already secured, it looked like Patterson's players were caught between not wanting to get injured and not having to play their way into his plans.
"I am disappointed about the attitude," said Patterson
"I thought we might have had a bit more urgency, but it just petered out into a typical end-of-season game.
"You'd have thought that players would have going out because of the Irish Cup final next week trying to prove a point, but it was a case of maybe nerves because of the last game of the season or some thinking that they already have a shirt for next week.
"There was maybe a bit of complacency too."
And Patterson may have a surprise up his sleeve for rival boss Tommy Breslin on Cup final day.
The Glens deviated from their tried and trusted system and although they later reverted back to what they know, Patterson isn't about to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
"We started with a different formation than we have been playing and we talked the boys through it before the game," said Patterson.
"It didn't worked and then we changed back to our normal 4-2-3-1 and had a bit more balance to our play after that.
"We have a formation in mind that we want to play and we'll work on that over the course of the week.
"We didn't have an opportunity to work on it before Saturday because various people were injured or weren't available to attend training.
"We'll look at it with a view to next week and we've another view for next season."
For Coleraine manager Oran Kearney it was like groundhog day.
Nixon's late leveller meant the Bannsiders recorded their 14th draw in 38 league games – 10 of them being 1-1.
"I think the way our season has gone with so many 1-1 draws the writing was on the wall. This season will definitely be remembered as the one-all draw season," said Kearney.
"We didn't do anywhere near enough in the second half to win the game.
"We could have sneaked the three points, but it would have been sneaked, I have no problem in saying that.
"In the first half we gave as good as we got, if not shaded it, but the second half was one-way traffic.
"It was a typical end of season game, but that's the challenge for everyone at this stage of the season and the motivation has to come from within.
"We never really got going again after half-time."