COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney shared his thoughts as his side ran out worthy winners against Ballinamallard United on Friday evening…
Goals from Eoin Bradley (2), Josh Carson, Darren McCauley and Aaron Burns saw off the Mallards in what Kearney described as an ‘important result’.
“The performance is important but when you look at the last couple of the games, the result is even more important,” Kearney said.
“The second-half we were super, but the first-half I thought we were bitty.
“It was a bit like a cup tie the way the game ebbed and flowed.
“The key thing is that we are going down the road with the three points.”
The Bannsiders cut the gap at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership to two points and Kearney insists his side are solely concentrated on collecting three points from every fixture.
“It was important to close that gap because when we both play next weekend, if they go behind, they are thinking if Coleraine win, they go top,” Kearney added.
“That’s all we can do and we can only control that aspect of it.
“It was crucial we got the three points and it’ll be exactly the same next Saturday.”
The Stripes led 2-1 but were pegged back just before the half-time whistle and Kearney was pleased to his players dominate the second-half.
“I wasn’t concerned at half-time,” Kearney continued.
“I said to the players pre-game that you could dwell on the fact that Ballinamallard are bottom of the league, but that’s over the course of five or six months.
“Realistically, they are now a different side and been a different club since January with the new signings.
“We knew they were in their best form of the season and recognised that it was going to be scrap and it turned out that way.
“We weathered the early onslaught and challenged the players at half-time to produce a Coleraine performance.
“Our players stepped up a gear, controlled the game and our centre-halves spent 90% of their time on the halfway line which is a good indication of our dominance.”
The game allowed Aaron Burns to make a goal scoring return on his debut, as well as welcoming Brad Lyons from injury – much to Kearney’s satisfaction.
“It was a brilliant debut for Aaron,” Kearney concluded.
“That’s credit to him, Alan Millar and the staff here as we’ve wrapped him up in cotton wool.
“He arrived with a big reputation and a high profile signing.
“He was without 10 weeks of football with a bad muscular injury and he’s beginning to find his feet.
“It was so important as much as my needs were great last weekend, we had to protect Aaron and if we asked him to play he probably would have been involved.
“You have to trust your gut and we felt we had to get the extra training sessions into him and make sure he was fully comfortable to return.
“I’ve said to him that I won’t decide when he is available as that decision is down to him and he said to me after training on Tuesday night that he was raring to go.
“We saw the benefits of that tonight as we played him on his terms, his goal was class and he was unlucky with another at the back post.
“I think that’s a snippet of what he is all about.
“We could have taken a huge risk with Brad last week but we didn’t.
“It’s just so important that he is back for the last nine or ten games of the season.
“We wanted to get him out there on pitch to get a few minutes and he was out doing a bit of extra training after the game which will do him no harm.
“It means he is fitter and stronger for next weekend and he will have two more sessions next week.
“The triple substitution wasn’t at the detriment of the players coming off. It just allowed us to freshen things up with Brad, Aaron and Parky which is something we have missed in recent weeks.”