Oran Kearney's not satisfied by Coleraine's long unbeaten run
Carrick Rangers 1 Coleraine 4
Another unbeaten game chalked off for Coleraine but Oran Kearney wants more performances like the second half of their facile victory against Carrick Rangers at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena.
The Bannsiders haven't lost in 11 competitive games this season, picking up six wins and five draws, but the boss insists there is still more work to do, starting with tomorrow night's League Cup clash against Glentoran at the Showgrounds.
"Everybody is talking about the unbeaten run but for us it's about eradicating the draws and trying to get more victories," said Kearney. "We are still a work in progress, there are parts of us I'm not 100% happy with and we have a lot of work to do to stay where we are at.
"We had a ding dong with Glentoran (a 2-2 draw) at the start of the season and they are definitely an improved side which has made big strides. But the League Cup is one we want to progress in and put in another big performance.
"In a few games we have huffed and puffed and a couple of red cards in games which have cost us points but, overall, I'm happy with the start we made."
At half-time on Saturday, after needing an injury-time goal to lead 2-1, Kearney wasn't happy and told his players as much, but he was delighted by the response and in the last half hour, as opposite number Niall Currie admitted, they were a class apart.
"Carrick had only conceded 12 goals - the best of the bottom five by a country mile - so we knew their 3-5-2 formation was hard to break down," added Kearney. "But to be fair to our lads, we created a few chances in the first half, probably should have taken more but it's just good to head back down the road with three points."
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It took only 12 minutes for Coleraine to go in front, Eoin Bradley stabbing home from close range, and although the striker later hit the top of the crossbar with a free kick and Lyndon Kane, captain for the day, shot wide when it seemed easier to score, Carrick were deservedly on level terms in the 27th minute, Caolan Loughran scoring from the penalty spot.
The "sickener" as Currie would later put it, came with the last action of the first half when Stephen Lowry's free kick wasn't cleared and Nedas Maciulaitis's downward shot was headed into his own net by Loughran.
It got worse for the Carrick defence just after the hour when Aaron Hogg missed a Ben Doherty corner and Aaron Jarvis, one of two Coleraine players unmarked at the back post, bundled home. Five minutes later another mishandling by Hogg allowed Aaron Traynor to tap in the fourth, though by that time the visitors were in cruise control.
Carrick's next two home games are against Dungannon Swifts and Warrenpoint but Currie is anxious that their season is not defined by the teams around them.
"I don't want our season boiling down to those games," said the Carrick boss. "The players have done well most of the season but we have to look better than that. We have to learn from that. They were really cheap goals conceded today and that is a massive frustration for me.
"There wasn't much to choose between the teams for 60 minutes. We have to keep the boys believing and hopefully take our chances and get our backline defending better from set-pieces in the future."
Carrick RANGERs: Hogg; Kelly, Surgenor, Loughran; Chapman, Hassin, Cherry, Faulkner, Neale (Thompson 72 mins); Keke (Smith 75 mins), Nixon. Unused subs: Nicholl, Carson, Magill, Ferrin, Anderson.
Coleraine: Johns; Kane, McConaghie, Mullan, Traynor; Carson, Lowry (Glackin 78 mins), Jarvis, Doherty; Maculaitis (Parkhill 89 mins), Bradley (Gawne 72 mins). Unused subs: Gallagher, Douglas, Whiteside, Nevin.
Man of the match: Aaron Jarvis
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Jamie Robinson.