Belfast Telegraph

'You never settle for a draw': Oran Kearney backs attacking move that paid off against Linfield

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney.
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

On the way to a potential point against Linfield, there aren't too many Irish League teams that would go for broke.

But then, Oran Kearney's Coleraine aren't most teams.

The Blues had fired a warning shot when Bastien Hery struck the post in the first half but the Bannsiders had created some trouble of their own, Ben Doherty's volley flying narrowly wide.

Stick or twist?

"You never settle for a draw," Kearney told Radio Ulster after the game.

He backed that mantra up when he swapped midfielder Josh Carson with striker James McLaughlin on 62 minutes at the Showgrounds, giving Eoin Bradley a strike-partner as they searched for all three points.

As a wise man once said 'he who dares, wins,'.

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Aaron Canning would claim the only goal of the game that arrived on 82 as a troublesome corner was bundled in.

Now a point clear of Cliftonville at the top of the league and having beaten both the Crues and the Blues home and away, this time next year Coleraine could be millionaires.

"We brought James on in the last-half hour to go with the two strikers," Kearney continued. "Being at home, it's important that you have that forward step and that you're pro-active in that way. I thought we were reckless in front of goal. We had three or four chances and, particularly against the likes of Linfield, you worry that can come back to haunt you.

"We stayed in the game and I thought we were really solid. It's another clean sheet and that always gives you a foothold and an opportunity to get something."

Coleraine have now won five games in a row and remain unbeaten this season.

"The boys have been brilliant," the boss beamed. "For any side to win games, you've got to be strong throughout. We've attributes throughout that allow us to hopefully go and hurt teams.

"In centre midfield, the game can be won and lost and we've got a nice mix in there.

"Stephen (Lowry)'s over 30 now but he says that it's abut brain and not legs. He uses the brain fantastically well and he's a great teacher to have beside Aaron (Jarvis), who's at the other end of his career. They've struck up a great partnership from day one, a nearly telepathic combination.

"(Goalkeeper) Chris (Johns) has been exceptional for us as well. I see the confidence coming back through him. He came and took a lot of high balls last week (in the win at Crusaders) and you need him to be gutsy like that in the big games."

The Bannsiders now have a favourable run of five league games in a row against the bottom five teams in the table.

"The big challenge was to pull Crusaders in and now we're at the top it's simple," said Kearney. "We don't need to come in to the changing room an ask how such-and-such did. We know where we'll be if we pick up our three points."

Make no mistake, Coleraine are true title contenders.

Oran Kearney will continue to dare.

Coleraine could well continue to win.

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