Belfast Telegraph

Why Oran Kearney always had faith his Coleraine side could come back against Glentoran

Oran Kearney
Oran Kearney

By Steve Jones

A goal and save of the season contenders, four goals and plenty of drama was on offer as Coleraine managed to claw back a two-goal deficit to earn a share of the spoils against Glentoran.

The visitors looked good to earn a seventh win in their last eight matches as first-half strikes from Robbie McDaid and Paul O'Neill had Glentoran well on their way to earn all three points at The Showgrounds.

However, Coleraine responded after the break and pulled a goal back in spectacular fashion as Aaron Jarvis struck a crisp 30 yard effort into the net via the post.

Just as it looked like the goalkeeping exploits of Marijan Antoloivic would be enough for Glentoran to hold on, Jarvis would add his second of the game as he headed home from Jamie Glackin's corner-kick with 15 minutes to go.

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney hasn't lost at The Showgrounds since April 2017 across two spells in charge, and heaped praise on his players for their second-half revival.

"I would have possibly taken a point at half-time," he said. "We're all in football long enough to know goals change game and give momentum to teams.

"We had a great start to the game but their first goal was like a hammer blow to us for 20-25 minutes, both mentally and physically.

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"But knowing the clientele we have in our squad and particularly with the crowd and the way we generally play in the second half, I always fancied we would get something from the game.

"2-0 is a precarious scoreline and I think if you can get something early on, then you can turn the game on its head.

"I felt they didn't know whether to stick or twist and we absolutely went for it from the very start.

"The only frustration is, and you get really greedy, bar three or four exceptional saves, we could have won it."

His opposite number Mick McDermott was disappointed in the manner of how his side conceded the second goal from a corner kick.

"Any time you're 2-0 up but only take a point you're disappointed," he said.

"You have to give Coleraine credit as they changed a few things, but we also had to make changes after Marcus Kane went off at half-time.

"We had two great chances at the end through Darren Murray and Navidi Nasseri, but unfortunately we couldn't take them.

"The second goal we conceded was sloppy and it was a poor goal to concede and we need to do better in that regard.

"We need to manage the game better and a point for each team is a fair reflection.

"It would have been nice to have won because we know how tough December is going to be. It's important we win our home games and take points on the road."

COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan (McLaughlin, 46mins), Canning, Jarvis, Doherty, Lowry, Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, Glackin, Traynor.

Unused subs: Gallagher, Douglas, Parkhill, Gawne, Maciulaitis, Tennant.

GLENTORAN: Antolovic, Garrett, Kane (Birney, 46mins), Peers, Gallagher, Herron, Murray (Nasseri, 85mins), McDaid, Pepper, Crowe, O'Neill (Van Overbeek, 57mins).

Unused subs: Morris, Frazer, Smith, Duric.

Referee: Tony Clarke

Man of the match: Marijan Antolovic

Match rating: 8/10

Coleraine2 Glentoran2

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