Dungannon Swifts' bright start gives boss Murphy the perfect pick-up
Dungannon Swifts 1 Coleraine 0: Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy continues to be increasingly pleased with his young side after Chris Lavery's strike, which was a repeat of his League Cup heroics against Larne, bagged them three points.
This wasn't easy on the eye but Murphy saw enough to know that, when they travel to Portadown on Saturday, they will give the weekend's headline grabbers a good game.
Swifts, with three wins and two draws, are level but trailing Ronnie McFall's record-breakers on goal difference.
"I have always said that, when all are fit, Portadown are the best side in the league, laced with talent."
"Big Ronnie will know what he is going to get and, if they beat us, they will have earned the win.
"That has always been the way against Portadown, bar once when we lost 8-2," said ex-Ports player Murphy.
"They will be on a high following their amazing 11-0 result but, regardless of that, we would rather be going to Shamrock Park fourth in the league than struggling at the foot of the table.
In terms of team selection, Murphy has some thinking to do.
"Darren Boyce, left out as he is on loan from Coleraine, is in contention and I have also to consider the performances of Chris Lavery after his vital goal and Stephen Doyle, who also impressed when introduced.
"I have a week to do it" said Murphy.
Springing Lavery from the bench on 54 minutes proved a master stroke, the young forward side-footing to the net after pouncing on a spilled save by Wayne Drummond.
Lavery had also rifled the late knockout winner in a 1-0 win at Inver Park
Both sides spurned chances at Stangmore, Swifts best attempts directed at the keeper or over the bar by Stefan Lavery and defenders Terry Fitzpatrick and Dermot McCaffrey.
Coleraine might have had a bagful on another day, as Shane Jennings alone squandered a gilt-edged chance when one on one, whistling a 25-yard shot just wide and then hitting the base of the left post with a header in injury-time.
"On chances created, we should have got something but the harsh reality is that we didn't. Swifts had fewer chances, but took one, so, we deserve no points and they deserve three" said Bannsiders' boss Oran Kearney.
"We created plenty and I thought that it was only a matter of time until a chance went in but our problems were compounded with the goal.
"When we go behind, we generally get a good reaction but not today – bar the header that hit the post in the final minute" added Kearney.
Matchwinner Lavery was determined that he was going to make a difference.
"The game needed a lift and I was fortunate to get the call and, when the chance came.
"I took it and hopefully that will give me a shout for a starting place," said Lavery.
"We were unbeaten in four against Portadown last season so that bodes well.
"We'll prepare as we normally do, give it everything we have and hope it will get us a result" he added.