Belfast Telegraph

Bannsiders on path to inspire a north-west buzz: Kearney

Coleraine 1 Linfield 0

Decisive moment: Coleraine players celebrate their late breakthrough at The Showgrounds
Decisive moment: Coleraine players celebrate their late breakthrough at The Showgrounds
Coleraine boss Oran Kearney

By Steve Jones

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney wants to bring 'a buzz' back to the club after securing a 1-0 win over champions Linfield to remain at the summit of the Danske Bank Premiership.

A late own goal by Mark Stafford would prove the difference as the Bannsiders ran out worthy winners in front of a bumper crowd at The Showgrounds.

It marks the second time this season that Coleraine have secured a win against the Blues, who are now five points off the top, but with two games in hand.

The home side made a bright start to proceedings and threatened through Ben Doherty and Eoin Bradley, but Blues stopper Rohan Ferguson was on hand to avert the danger.

At the other end, Linfield almost made the breakthrough midway through the first-half as Bastien Hery struck the post from distance.

In a cagey second-half, Coleraine made the important breakthrough as Stafford headed into his own goal from Jamie Glackin's corner kick - although Aaron Canning was happy to take the credit during the celebrations.

Coleraine remain the only side unbeaten in the Premiership this season, with boss Kearney one shy of 50 games without tasting a loss across two spells in charge.

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"When you get top of the table clashes, and last week was no different against Crusaders, there's going to be nothing in the game," Kearney said.

"The important thing is to try and get the three points whatever way they may come.

"To be honest, I thought we were going to rue a few missed good opportunities and I always feel that if you don't take those chances, then they can come back to haunt you.

"But credit to our boys, I thought we dug in really well.

"We showed a real solidness over the past few games as well and a real good mentality.

"I wouldn't call it heightened expectation by being top of the league.

"I've always had an expectation myself and you try and transmit that into the changing room.

"I wouldn't call what we have at the minute an expectation - I would call it a buzz.

"I think what we're trying to do is get a buzz back to this place, get a buzz back to the north coast and get a buzz back to the town."

Blues boss David Healy was left frustrated with his side's inability to create chances on the Ballycastle Road.

"My conversation with the players was that it's okay at times to create a lot of chances against the likes of Warrenpoint and Dungannon and that's no disrespect to those clubs," he added.

"But, when you come to a place like this, there might only be one or two opportunities that you get and it's important when you get them you take advantage.

"We changed shape a little bit in the second-half, we tried to go back to normality but we didn't really create enough.

"The disappointing thing is we had enough attacking talent on the pitch in my eyes to go and create opportunities but we didn't do that.

"It is frustrating and disappointing at the manner in which we conceded the goal.

"It's a tough place to come and they're very effective in what they do and they create problems."

COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Canning, Jarvis, Doherty, Lowry, Bradley, Carson (McLaughlin, 62 mins), Glackin, Traynor.Unused subs: Gallagher, Douglas, McConaghie, Parkhill, McGuckin, Maciulaitis.

LINFIELD: Ferguson, Stafford, Callacher, Hery (Shevlin, 83 mins), Cooper (Stewart, 78 mins), Millar, Lavery (Waterworth, 81 mins), Fallon, Mulgrew, McGivern, Quinn. Unused subs: Deane, Larkin, Clarke, Mitchell.

Referee: Ian McNabb (Carrickfergus)

Man of the match: Lyndon Kane

Match rating: 6/10

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