Victory is all we care about: Kearney
Carrick Rangers 0 Coleraine 2
It wasn't pretty, but on a day when all four of their Premiership title rivals won, the three points were all that mattered to Coleraine boss Oran Kearney.
An 11th-minute strike from Aaron Traynor gave them something to hold onto and, although Josh Carson missed a penalty in the second half, a superb save from Chris Johns kept them on level terms and substitute Alexander Gawne's goal six minutes from time secured the Bannsiders' first win in five away games.
"It has been a tough Christmas period, and with injuries and suspensions we were down to the bare bones and could only name five on the bench, and one was a 16-year-old," said Kearney.
"Credit to Carrick, they looked threatening in the first half but I thought we dealt with it quite well, and we needed it after the penalty miss. This is always a tough place to come, Niall (Currie) has done a great job, so I'm delighted to get the three points and hope we can kick on."
The Carrick boss will have been disappointed with both goals, the first from a long throw headed on by Emmet McGuckin and when two defenders failed to clear, Traynor pounced.
Reserve goalkeeper Liam McAuley should have done better with the second. He allowed Ian Parkhill to win the loose ball and when it broke to Gawne, he had the simple task of rolling in.
A cross/shot from Mark Carson, who did well for the last 55 minutes after the loss of Lee Chapman to a hamstring problem, hit the back post. That was the closest Carrick came to scoring, although Willie Faulkner was the player denied by Johns' spectacular diving save.
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"We didn't get the breaks," was Currie's summary. "Both teams were tired and it was Coleraine's extra quality which won the game. I'm happy that we're competitive. We gave Coleraine a great game up there, but one game a week will do us."
Currie expects to have a new goalkeeper in place for Saturday's Irish Cup tie at Ards.
CARRICK RANGERS: McAuley, Surgenor, Rodgers, Loughran, Chapman (Carson, 36 mins), Faulkner, Kelly, Anderson, (Hassin 74 mins), Neale, Nixon, Smith (Keke, 66 mins). Unused subs: Nicholl, Magill, Doyle, McGreevy.
COLERAINE: Johns, Canning, O'Donnell, McConaghie, Traynor, Parkhill, Kane, Carson, Glackin (Nevin, 80 mins), Maculaitis (Gawne, 66 mins), McGuckin (Bradley, 76 mins). Unused subs: Gallagher, Douglas.
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)
Man of the match: Stephen O'Donnell
Match rating: 5/10