Belfast Telegraph

Quick start is Kearney's key for Coleraine as league-leaders blast past Glentoran

Coleraine 3 Glentoran 0

By Jonathan McNabb

Coleraine showed they will take some stopping after a dogged performance against Glentoran at a wind-swept Ballycastle Road.

The Bannsiders took advantage of the strong wind in the first-half by taking a two-goal lead via strikes from Ian Parkhill and Darren McCauley.

The visitors enjoyed large spells of possession in the second-half, but failed to find the back of the net and were caught on the counter-attack with eight minutes to go as Jamie McGonigle swept home a fine counter-attack move from the league leaders to seal all three points.

Like last week's victory over Cliftonville, the performance wasn't always easy on the eye, but Coleraine manager Oran Kearney believes his players are showing different sides to their game.

"I thought how we managed the first-half in particular was brilliant," Kearney said.

"I was a bit disappointed with the first half hour of the second-half as we could have shown more composure and been a bit wiser with some of our decisions.

"We weathered that storm and scored a great third goal to kill the game off. We stress weekly to try and get out of the blocks quickly in this league. It's really important that you start well as if you don't, it's hard to get back on the horse.

"I think the players are getting that understanding that there are different ways of picking up victories. In the last two weeks we have showed a different side to us that we will need if we want to keep picking up points."

Coleraine - who remain five points clear in the Danske Bank Premiership - now turn their attentions to Tuesday night's clash against basement club Ballinamallard United at The Showgrounds.

Kearney believes his players might have to be 'patient' as they aim to stretch their unbeaten run in the league to 13 games.

"I think Tuesday night will be a tough game as Ballinamallard put up a real fist of it against Crusaders," Kearney added.

"Everybody thought that Crusaders would stroll that one after their big victory against Linfield, but Ballinamallard obviously had different ideas. It took around 65 to 70 minutes for Crusaders to open the scoring and they grabbed their second in the last minute of the game.

"We will be under no illusions and it could be one of those nights were patience can be very important. We need to start well and get on the front foot early doors as I'm sure Ballinamallard will come here to do a job."

Glentoran boss Gary Haveron cut a frustrated figure ­after the full-time whistle and has challenged his squad to find some 'consistency' as they take on Ballymena United next Monday night.

"It's always difficult down here at the best of times, but with them flying at the top of the league the last thing you want to do is gift-wrap them a goal, that's what we did with the first," Haveron acknowledged.

"It's really disappointing from our point of view because we had talked about keeping it tight early on, but we go behind making it difficult from there on. At half time we talked about getting the next goal to get us back in the game, and if Curtis takes his chance then it's a really nervous finish for them.

"But again we don't take our chances and we get punished chasing the game. We have struggled to find consistency over the last few weeks. We had a bad defeat then we bounced back with a win against Ards, then another defeat before we beat Dungannon.

"Ultimately we need to stick together too and show a bit of character and that bounce-back-ability against Ballymena."

Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, Ogilby, McCauley (Whiteside, 88 mins), Carson, O'Donnell, Parkhill (Smith, 88 mins), Traynor, McGonigle, McCready (McConaghie, 76 mins). Unused subs: Douglas, Kirk.

Glentoran: Morris, Kane, Sterling, Addis, Kelly, Allen, McMullan (Knowles, 58 mins), McNicholl (Delaney, 71 mins), Gordon (Davidson, 58 mins), Redman, McDaid. Unused subs: Foley, Smith.

Man of the match: Josh Carson

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)

Belfast Telegraph

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