Coleraine couldn't play any worse in Glentoran draw, says Bradley
Glentoran 2 Coleraine 2
Coleraine striker Eoin Bradley believes his team could benefit from their disappointing result at the Oval on Saturday.
It took a last-gasp leveller from the 34-year-old hitman to secure a point against a Glentoran team now showing an urgency and a desire associated with club legends Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman, who were recruited to the management team over the summer.
In a lifeless opening period, Brad Lyons headed the visitors into the lead five minutes before the break.
If the first half was poor, the second developed into a thriller. Curtis Allen drilled the Glens level before Peter McMahon hit an outrageous 35-yarder that screamed into the top corner.
Suddenly, the unbeaten Danske Bank Premiership record that Coleraine have held since November was under threat.
But with the clock ticking down, Darren McCauley took off on a trademark dash down the left before delivering the most delicious of crosses and Bradley did the rest with the flick of his head, the ball roaring into the top corner.
"Come the end of the season, it could be a big point for us," claimed the former GAA star.
"You can see the difference in the Glentoran team since Paul and Gary have come in. They still have some quality players. The Oval will be a tough place to go for a lot of teams this season.
"But it says a lot about us - this team just never gives up. We kept going right to the end. A point is not too bad when you can't play any worse!"
Bradley found himself on the substitutes' bench, with last week's two-goal hero Aaron Burns getting the nod to partner Jamie McGonigle up front.
He had no complaints, adding: "If I had scored two goals last week after coming on as sub, I would have been looking for a starting shirt, so Burnsie deserved the chance.
"It's a team game. Over the course of the season, I'll start, Burnsie will start, Jamie (McGonigle) will start and James (McLaughlin) will start.
"It didn't matter who started today, we were terrible. So to play so poorly and still come away with a point says a lot about this squad. It keeps the unbeaten run going."
Allen, who scored Glentoran's first goal against Coleraine in 598 minutes, reckons there are better days ahead for the east Belfast side.
"We were disappointed at the final whistle," he said. "We fought and scrapped to get back into it, so to be hit with such a late equaliser is disappointing.
"It would be fair to say this time last year we probably would have been beaten by two or three goals. It really shows the character we now have in the team."
GLENTORAN: Morris, Garrett, Kane (Crowe, 77 mins), Birney, McMahon, Allen, McGuigan, Davidson (Byrne, 77 mins), Kerr, Pepper, Redman. Unused subs: Nelson, Gordon, Ferrin, McCarthy, O'Neill.
COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, Lyons, McCauley, Carson (Parkhill, 81 mins), McConaghie, Burns (Bradley, 46 mins), O'Donnell, Traynor, McGonigle. Unused subs: Douglas, Crown, Doherty, Gawne.
Refeee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)
Man of the match: Peter McMahon
Match rating: 6/10