COLERAINE manager Rodney McAree was left disappointed with his side’s defensive performance at Seaview last night…
The Bannsiders missed several chances in the first-half and were made to pay on 45 minutes as Colin Coates broke the deadlock on the Shore Road.
Further poor defending resulted in Crusaders holding a 3-0 advantage courtesy of a David Cushley brace, but the visitors got back into the game via strikes from Dylan King and Jamie McGonigle.
However, Ronan Hale seized upon another defensive error to seal all three points for Stephen Baxter’s side.
“How we went in at half-time 1-0 down beggars belief but football is a funny old game,” McAree said.
“When you don’t take opportunities that present themselves to you, then you make it very difficult for yourself.
“We could have gone in four goals ahead at half-time but we didn’t and we went in one-nil down.
“I thought we done very well in the second-half going forward, but defensively we weren’t good enough.
“You could pick holes in all of the four goals we conceded.
“You can pick problems in them all and you can identify areas that we conceded them from.
“If you’re conceding goals like the way we are at the minute, then you’re going to make things extremely difficult for yourself.
“It’s a wee bit frustrating because going forward I thought we were excellent and it frustrates the life out of me that we’ve conceded four goals.”
The Stripes made a slow start to the second-half and were punished twice by Cushley – mistakes which McAree labelled as ‘elementary’.
“We wanted to get off to a good start in the second-half and suddenly we found ourselves 3-0 down,” he added.
“I thought at the stage we were still playing well, broke through the third and got into their half. I know we didn’t play as well after the break but I was still impressed.
“There are players waiting in the wings for their opportunity.
“The thing is that you turn around and tell the players to not give away your shirt easily but we have made elementary mistakes.
“We have switched off for the second ball for the first goal, the second goal we should have defended it better, the third goal is a great ball in by BJ Burns but we have to identify where the danger is and the fourth one is a simple ball through and it was poorly defended.”
McAree was impressed with his side’s eagerness to find a way back into the game and knows that will improve once they start to defend better.
“Once it went to 3-2 we were trying to psychologically remind the players what happened us last week,” he continued.
“I have to give my players a pat on the back for the character to bring the game back to 3-2 but the goals we conceded scare the life out of you.
“I don’t think its bad luck when all the goals were preventable and we have to take responsibility individually and collectively.
“Things will improve and I don’t think it’s a travesty at this stage but if we improve defensively then everyone would have left here tonight thinking Coleraine are a good side.”
The Bannsiders now turn their attentions to Glentoran next weekend and McAree knows he faces a selection headache ahead of the fixture.
“There are boys sitting itching to get back involved,” he concluded.
“Football is great because the next game comes around so fast.
“Glentoran have turned a corner and are starting to do well.
“They have an attacking threat but we will work on that.
“If we tidy up at the back and continue doing what we are doing going forward, then we will be alright.”