Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine feeling the pain while Portadown share spoils

By Keith Thomas

Coleraine 2 Portadown 2: Darren Murray's hamstring agony will keep him out of Portadown's clash with champions Cliftonville next week.

The 21-year-old midfielder was forced to play through the pain barrier for the final 30 minutes at Coleraine on Saturday.

"It was pretty unpleasant," he revealed. "I felt it go when I was going for the ball and I knew right away I was in trouble."

Murray, who will also miss Saturday's visit of Premiership newcomers Ards to Shamrock Park, was unable to come off despite the severity of the injury.

"We had already made all three substitutions so I just had to soldier on. There was nothing else we could do."

The Ports, who twice led, suffered a string of injuries with defender Ross Redman stretchered off grimacing and in obvious distress over a knee problem. He faces a scan this week. Chris Casement will also be assessed and Sean Mackle, who lasted only 10 minutes, is likely to be facing a lay off after aggravating a hamstring injury.

"We started so well and really got at Coleraine but then the injuries kicked in and we let them back into the game, especially in the second half," added Murray.

"I suppose we have to be content with a point but we really could and should have had all three. We certainly created enough chances in the first half and forced their keeper Wayne Drummond to make some decent saves."

Murray, who set up Portadown's opening goal for striker Gary Twigg, is now facing up to a spell on the sidelines: "I did my hamstring before and it took more than two weeks to recover. I don't want to risk coming back too soon and perhaps end up being out for a longer spell.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney admits he has to focus on getting his players to start games with more intensity.

"I was satisfied with the way we came back after half-time. We had to re-group and tweak a few things and that worked," he said.

"We have a good knack of coming from behind but I would like to see us be a bit more positive earlier in matches."

Goals from midfielders Stephen Lowry and Gareth Tommons cancelled out Twigg's opener for the Ports and a stunning free kick from Kevin Braniff.

"I think we deserved a point for the character and spirit we displayed to keep coming back, especially in the final half an hour," Kearney said.

Belfast Telegraph

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