Smiling boss Rodney McAree enjoys Coleraine triumph
Warrenpoint Town 0 Coleraine 1
Rodney McAree's smile said it all. On his previous visit to Warrenpoint in November, he wore a frown after a 2-1 defeat. On Saturday the Coleraine manager was joyful after an important 1-0 victory.
The Bannsiders have collected seven points out of nine over Christmas to date and will move into fifth place in the table if they overcome Cliftonville tomorrow.
This is much more like it for McAree, delighted to see Jamie McGonigle score a 75th minute winner which finally breached the resolute defence of Town goalkeeper Aaron McCarey after visiting netminder Chris Johns had performed brilliantly at the other end.
"We defended better than on our last visit to Warrenpoint. They had opportunities and a great one in the second half which Chris Johns did extremely well to save from Alan O'Sullivan. That kept it at 0-0 which was vital," said McAree.
"Then Jamie stepped up to score which was brilliant for us and him because he worked so hard.
"A big difference for me was the strength of bench this time compared to our last time here. Last time we had four teenagers.
"This time when Lyndon Kane was injured we brought on Graham Crown, Eoin Bradley came on in the second half and was exceptional and we had the experience of Steven Douglas to put on at the end. It was a great win for us because Warrenpoint is such a tough place to get anything from."
Unfortunate full-back Kane, who has had a desperate time with injuries, broke his foot and faces a spell on the sidelines.
Coleraine midfielder Ciaron Harkin delivered a solid performance ahead of his move to Derry City. Ben Doherty, via an impressive loan spell at Glenavon, will join the Bannsiders in what is effectively a swap deal.
McAree has already signed winger Jamie Glackin from Crusaders and also fancies bringing in Institute's in form striker Michael McCrudden in the January transfer window.
Warrenpoint boss Stephen McDonnell expects to do some business himself with influential goalkeeper McCarey lined up to play in his final game for the club at Glenavon tomorrow before joining Dundalk.
McCarey was determined to keep a clean sheet in his last home game for Town but was finally undone by McGonigle's late strike.
WARRENPOINT: McCarey, Foster, Hughes, O'Sullivan, J Lynch (McCaffrey, 62 mins), M Lynch, Watters (Kelly, 78 mins), Scannell, Norton (McGrandles, 87 mins), Wallace, Donnelly. Unused subs: Moan, Turker.
Coleraine: Johns, Kane (Crown, 4 mins), Mullan, Harkin, McCauley, Lowry, Carson, McConaghie, Parkhill (Bradley, 46 mins), McGonigle (Douglas, 88 mins), Canning. Unused subs: Doherty, O'Donnell, Gawne, Whiteside.
Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber)
Man of the match: Chris Johns
Match rating: 6/10