COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney shares his views after the Bannsiders clinched a 3-1 victory against Carrick Rangers…
The Stripes were made to work hard for the three points as they won at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena for the first time since October 2015.
“It was noted that there had been a turn in Carrick’s performances in recent weeks, so it was a job well done,” Kearney said.
“We had a fair idea of how tough it was going to be coming here.
“In the last two seasons we have come away with nothing from this venue and we made a big point before the game that it wasn’t going to be the same this time around.
“Thankfully our lads weathered an early storm and came away with all three points.”
Coleraine took an early lead via Ciaron Harkin’s rasping drive, before Brad Lyons regained the advantage with a header on the stroke of half-time. However, Kearney was relieved when Jamie McGonigle slammed home the third.
“It was the perfect start, but then it knocked us back a bit,” Kearney added.
“It was a great move, a nice set-up by Brad and a great strike by Ciaron Harkin.
“With that, we didn’t kick on and to be fair to Carrick they came back strongly in that first 20 minute period.
“Then right on half-time, Brad rises really well with a great finish and celebrates with the family.
“The third one is a bit of pinball and it was nice one to get as it gave us a cushion with 15 minutes to go.”
Kearney admits he was delighted with Lyons’ performance as the 20-year-old had an influence on all three goals.
“He started up front and then moved back in the middle when we wanted to close the game down,” Kearney revealed.
“He is such a big player for us and the goal he scores is a cracking finish. He plays a hand in the other two goals and hits the post a couple of times.
“He could have walked away with the match ball, but he has been pivotal for us this season and it’s great to have him back.”
The result means that the Bannsiders still lead the Danske Bank Premiership by six points, but Kearney insists the squad are solely focussed on collecting three points.
“The plan today was to remain six points clear,” Kearney continued.
“The aim leaving the pitch at full-time was to have that lead and all we can do is protect all three points.
“The plan is to keep going.
“We have done it up until now and Christmas will be a busy period, but we want to win every game we play and next week will be the same.”