Long runs the fox: Baxter warns Coleraine after Seaview celebrations
Stephen Baxter credited Coleraine for punishing his Crusaders side's 'horrendous' defensive errors but warned the visitors that their post-match joy won't be forgotten.
The outstanding Jamie McGonigle netted twice in the second half, adding to Josh Carson's well taken early opener on a night when dreadful defensive errors cost Crusaders dearly.
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It was the Crues' heaviest domestic home defeat since October 2014 and their second loss in five league games so far this term, also falling to Linfield at Seaview.
It's not the start the champions anticipated, especially under their new full-time regime at Seaview.
“Coleraine will be ultra pleased as we heard from them going into their dressing room after the game but long runs the fox," said Baxter, who had an “honest conversation” with his own players after the match.
“You’ve seen a performance where we huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow the wall down. I thought they scored against the run of play after a horrendous mistake by us and then it was all us until they got their second goal which was another horrendous mistake from us.
“You can’t concede those goals at this level of the game and Coleraine punished our mistakes."
While it was a tough defeat to take for Stephen Baxter’s men, who pipped Coleraine to the title last season, it was the most satisfactory performance and result of the campaign to date for Kearney and his players, who are now ahead of Linfield on goal difference at the top of the table.
"This was the first time this season we have looked like the Coleraine I would expect," said Kearney, who led the Bannsiders to Irish Cup glory in May.
"Absolutely there is more to come but the key thing is at this stage of the season it is about getting points on the board.
“For a lot of our guys the Irish Cup was the first trophy they won and it’s human nature to let the adulation and everything that comes with it carry over to the start of this season but every game we have played we have looked that little bit more like it.
“This was by far the best and I hope that is the switch hit and the sign of things to come.
“We have had a lot of battles over the years with Crusaders. We dug in when we needed to and when chances came his way Jamie showed his quality. He is probably the best one-touch finisher I’ve worked with.”
Kearney was also full of praise for the “exceptional” Aaron Canning on his first Coleraine appearance since returning to the club.