Kearney reflects on Coleraine's missed chances
Cliftonville 1 Coleraine 0
Oran Kearney admitted Coleraine's defeat to Cliftonville was a tough one to take, especially when the visitors had looked the more likely to pocket all three points.
What looked like petering out to a regrettable draw turned into a disappointing defeat when Conor McMenamin's 83rd minute header ended the Reds' two-match losing streak.
With Jamie Glackin having passed up a gilt-edged opportunity in the opening minutes, the Bannsiders saw Ben Doherty and James McLaughlin denied by Richard Brush either side of the interval, with the home keeper also grateful to grasp a Josh Carson header when the net should really have been bulging.
Ian Parkhill clipped the crossbar as Coleraine turned the screw, only for McMenamin to pop up with a header from Aaron Donnelly's cross.
While correctly acknowledging that the corner from which Cliftonville scored should not have been awarded, Kearney bemoaned his team's shortcomings at both ends of the park.
"We've had plenty of chances and not been able to take any of them," he said.
"We should have been in front in the first minute and then their keeper has made a few saves from chances that you'd expect us to take.
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"With the clock ticking down, you're thinking it looks like we're going to end up getting a draw from a game we probably feel unfortunate not to have won, but we've switched off at the back for one second and it's cost us."
Opposite number Paddy McLaughlin was understandably more upbeat, having seen his team rally in the aftermath of Ruaidhri Donnelly being stretchered off following a collision with Aaron Traynor - which forced the Solitude boss into another tactical tweak.
"We knew it was going to be tough and that we'd have to stand up to what Coleraine would throw at us," he said
"They're a big, strong, physical team who work very hard and that was something we knew we had to match. We made a couple of changes to the way we usually play in order to combat that and, credit to the players, each and every one of them did their jobs superbly."
Donnelly was replaced by Thomas Maguire, who was later substituted himself, with McLaughlin adding: "I'm sure it wasn't very nice for him to be taken off again after coming on as a sub but he'd done his job for us.
"We asked Thomas to go on and cause havoc and that's exactly what he did and he's played a big role in the goal."
CLIFTONVILLE: Brush, McDermott, Breen, Harney, C Curran, R Curran, R Donnelly (Maguire, 55 mins, (Foster, 90 mins), Doherty, Gormley, McMenamin, A Donnelly. Unused subs: Dunne, Wilson, Rocks, McCurry, Gorman.
COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Mullan (O'Donnell, 46 mins), Doherty, McLaughlin (Lowry, 72 mins), Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, Parkill (Gawne, 78 mins), Glackin, Traynor. Unused subs: Gallagher, Douglas, McGuckin, Maciulaitis.
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)
Man of the match: Richard Brush
Match rating: 7/10