Coleraine hoping for some new year cheer

Oran Kearney will be hoping the new year brings some new luck for his Coleraine side after a wretched end to 2021.

It’s safe to say the Bannsiders will be glad to see the back of December.

Four defeats in the league has seen Kearney’s charges drop down the table and lose pace with the top three.

The only bright spark for Coleraine was reaching the BetMcLean League Cup.

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney

Ironically it came at the expense of today’s opponents Warrenpoint Town as the Bannsiders ran riot at The Showgrounds running out 6-1 winners on the night.

Apart from that goals have been hard to come by for The Showgrounds outfit as they have only found the net twice in their previous five league games.

One of them came in the agonising 2-1 defeat at derby rivals Ballymena United on Monday.

David Parkhouse’s late goal secure a dramatic victory for Ballymena United.

But Kearney was left to bemoan his side’s profligacy in front of goal again.

He felt his side should never have been in the position to lose the game so late on as they should have been out of sight long before then, which has been a common complaint of late.

“It’s frustrating again,” said Kearney.

“We show all the character that we know exists in the team but we conceded a sloppy goal against Glentoran after three or four minutes and today we don’t get our line right for the goal kick as he kicks a lot shorter than we expect, the ball bounces and we don’t win the first or second ball and all of a sudden you’re 1-0 down in a derby.

“You’re possibly fearing the worst because against Glentoran it shook us and we didn’t react, but the big thing I’ll give the players and I’ve said it in there, is that from the third minute we just took control and went after it in the way we know that we can.

“We’ve created a bundle of chances in both halves but when you don’t put the ball in the back of the net it’s difficult and again it’s a collective thing.

“We’ve had full backs having chances, centre halves have had chances, midfielders have had chances, strikers have had chances but goals change games and the output of games.

“To me the sucker punch never happens at the end because we should be two or three up by that stage but when you don’t put the ball in the net you leave yourself open to something like that happening.

“Sadly that’s just been the trait of the last few weeks.”

Despite the recent frustrations the Coleraine fans did all they could to encourage their team, much to Kearney’s delight.

His only disappointment was that the players couldn’t reward the fans for their efforts.

“They were brilliant and always are for this fixture,” said the Bannsiders’ boss.

“When we went down early, all you heard in the first half was our fans right up until we get the goal from James and after that as well.

“They were outstanding to a man and a woman as they always are.

“The frustrating thing is that we’ve had umpteen chances today and at times we’ve nearly got into each other’s way.

“We nearly needed one to go in off a backside and you could probably epitomise it by we’ve scored with our hardest chance by far.

“I don’t know how he takes it as it’s a phenomenal finish by James but all the other chances in the game are far easier than that chance, but at the minute, we just can’t put teams away which leaves us open at the other end for a sucker punch.”