COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney gives his reaction after watching the Bannsiders claim a 2-0 success against Ballymena United…
Goals either side of half-time from Eoin Bradley and Darren McCauley proved enough to earn a deserved victory at The Showgrounds and Kearney praised his side’s desire to keep in the title race.
“A lot of our players haven’t been involved in a title race and the biggest job all day and continually is to make sure we take care of our business,” Kearney said.
“As much as we have sat, waited and hoped for Crusaders to drop points in the last few weeks, it was driven into the players that we must not let the gap exceed five points and that the next swing must come in our direction.
“Credit to the players because it’s been a long patient wait and they have hung in there and won games with Crusaders continually winning.
“Then Crusaders send out that big statement on Tuesday night with their win at Glenavon and again credit to our players for hitting that performance level we needed to get the result today.
“We keep saying it, but we can only control what happens out there and it would have been ten times worse if we had heard the news Crusaders had lost and we had of lost the game 2-0 as it would have been a worthless exercise.”
Kearney was happy with his side’s second-half performance and hailed a save from Chris Johns with the game scoreless.
“With us having no game in two weeks it can sometimes leave you a little disjointed,” Kearney added.
“It’s nice to be playing in a routine of Saturday, Saturday, Saturday and so on, but when you get a break in that, it isn’t ideal.
“From that point of view, I thought it did take us a while to get up and running, but I thought we were very strong in the second-half.
“Chris made a great save with the game at 0-0.
“In the past I would have called it a great save and I mentioned it at half-time and Chris looked at me as if to say it wasn’t a great save, it’s more of a routine one.
“That exemplifies how good Chris is.
“I just thought the platform he gave us today, coming for the ball from two or three high corners and a couple of long throws, just gives confidence to the back four.”
The Stripes have now kept 14 clean sheets in the Danske Bank Premiership and Kearney believes that is down to all 11 players on the park.
“As much as Chris and the back four will take the plaudits for that, they will be the first to say that it is sometimes down to the work of the front six with the pressure that they put on teams without the ball,” Kearney concluded.
“For big periods today Chris was anonymous and wasn’t called on and that’s credit to everyone out on the pitch.
“The spine of our team is very important.
“Brad is only 20 and Ciaron is 21 but they both must have played in six or seven derbies.
“I think we are finally seeing the fruits from all our hard work which has gone on over the years when you trust two people that age to control your midfield.”