Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine must stay in race until January, says Stephen Lowry

Dungannon Sw 0 Coleraine 2

Clap of honour: Stephen Lowry applauds the Coleraine fans after helping his side stay top of the table
Clap of honour: Stephen Lowry applauds the Coleraine fans after helping his side stay top of the table
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Stephen Lowry has warned that it is still far too early to read anything into Coleraine's flying start.

The midfielder scored twice as the Bannsiders overcame Dungannon Swifts to maintain their unbeaten run in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Afterwards Lowry said matches at Stangmore Park are never straightforward - but his side did a good job of making this one appear so.

They shut Dungannon out, not allowing them a shot on target, with Lowry's double securing the points.

Coleraine remain invincible at the summit and are a point ahead of Cliftonville.

However, Lowry feels the next two months are crucial - and believes they must be in a similar position come the new year.

"We are ticking along nicely but, as the manager says, there are only 14 games played, so there is a long way to go," he said.

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"We've been there before and it's important we are there come January time.

"It is about staying in and around the pack now.

"If we can stay free of injuries, we'll not be too far away, but we won't get carried away by any means."

Lowry's two goals were enough to win a dull clash.

His first came in the 28th minute when he broke from midfield to meet Eoin Bradley's flick-on, scoring with a first-time shot.

Then in the second-half, he doubled their advantage, firing home after Aaron Jarvis's initial header had been well saved by Sam Johnston.-

Lowry added: "It is a tough place to come and these games are never straightforward.

"I know Dungannon would probably have taken a draw today - they have been getting a lot of bad results recently - so it wasn't going to be easy coming here.

"We are delighted with the three points and now we can move on to next week."

Lowry was particularly pleased at how Coleraine kept Dungannon out of the game.

A lot of the credit goes to Aaron Canning, who impressed in the visitors' defence and supplied the pass that led to Lowry's first goal.

Lowry added: "I think Dungannon played quite well in the first-half.

"We got our goals at good times - scoring one in the first-half and one in the second - and kept it tight at the back.

"Our back four is really settled at the minute."

For Dungannon, it was another frustrating, if not unexpected, result and they have now lost six in a row in all competitions.

The Swifts did show a lot more character and fight, with the opening goal not triggering the collapses seen in recent weeks.

It wasn't five, as it had been in the sides' previous meeting at The Showgrounds in September or at Cliftonville nine days ago.

Boss Kris Lindsay said: "No-one likes losing, but sometimes you have to take it on the chin and look for the positives and we can take more from today than recent games.

"I was despondent last week after the Cliftonville match because of the nature of the second-half performance.

"Today was completely different. The boys kept their effort and their work-rate and their hunger going right up to the end."

DUNGANNON: Johnston, McGuinness, Byers, King, Redman (Smyth, 76 mins), Clucas, Wilson (Campbell, 76 mins), Lowe, Teggart, Waide, Hughes (Noble, 6 mins). Unused subs: Addis, Taylor, Coyle

COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan (McConaghie, 80 mins), Traynor, Canning, Kane, Doherty, Lowry, Carson (McLaughlin, 53 mins), Glackin (Parkhill, 82 mins), Jarvis, Bradley. Unused subs: Gallagher, Douglas, Gawne, Maciulaitis.

Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber)

Man of the Match: Stephen Lowry

Match Rating: 3/10

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