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Coleraine leave it late to claim victory over Carrick

Coleraine 3

Carrick Rangers 2

Coleriane's Alexander Gawne celebrates his goal during todays game at the Showgrounds. Photo Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press
Coleriane's Alexander Gawne celebrates his goal during todays game at the Showgrounds. Photo Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press

Oran Kearney praised Coleraine’s mentality as they left it late to earn all three points against Carrick Rangers at The Showgrounds.

The Bannsiders  — who suffered their first Danske Bank Premiership defeat of the season at Warrenpoint Town last time out — trailed 2-1 with 30 minutes to go, but sealed a win via Ben Doherty’s penalty and a late strike from substitute Alexander Gawne.

The result means Kearney’s troops return to the summit of the table on goal difference after Cliftonville’s draw with Larne.

Despite admitting his players failed to hit top form, the Coleraine boss believes the victory was a “big show of strength” from his side.

“We weren’t at our best today, we go behind twice to a side who aren’t conceding many goals and fighting for their lives,” he said.

“It was the opposite of last week as we go absolutely to the well in every way possible to get the three points.

“A huge credit must go to the resilience and a big show of strength from the changing room.

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“We have seen it over the years, where this League isn’t like any other, as teams will not just arrive and roll up and say here is your three points.

“The key thing is that this League is as much about skill and physicality as it is about mental strength and I think that was a mental three points, rather than a physical three points.”

The defeat was harsh on Carrick, who took the lead through Lloyd Anderson’s smart finish, before James McLaughlin bagged an equaliser on 22 minutes after latching onto Aaron Canning’s through ball.

The Amber Army would have a half-time lead as Sachem scored on his first League start when he slammed past goalkeeper Chris Johns at the second time of asking.

The game turned on its head on 58 minutes, however, as referee Tim Marshall pointed to the spot when Jamie Glackin went to ground inside the box, with Doherty twice converting from 12 yards; his initial strike ruled out for encroachment.

There was further drama to come as Gawne somehow hooked the ball home with his back to goal after keeper Aaron Hogg had pawed Josh Carson’s fierce cross into his path.

Gers manager Niall Currie was left bemused with the award of the penalty.

“It’s the players I feel sorry for,” he said.

 “In my opinion, it was taken out of our hands today and I’ve told the players they were magnificent to a man against one of the best teams in the country.

“We gave them a hell of a game and when you see Coleraine go into the corner in the 92nd minute, you know you’re doing well.

“We were in control in the second-half until the penalty, it wasn’t a case of the Alamo and Aaron Hogg wasn’t too busy for the first 20 minutes of the second-half.

“The referee gave a penalty nobody else in the ground seen, Coleraine players didn’t even appeal for it and the reaction of their players tells its own story.

“To me, if he’s going to give penalties for that, then you’ll give 10 penalties a game.

“He can turn around and say there was a contact, but we will have to suck it up.”

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