COLERAINE boss Rodney McAree hopes yesterday’s win against Crusaders will help take the pressure off his players…
After a goalless first-half, a delightful curling free-kick from Gareth McConaghie would prove to be the match winner as McAree celebrated his first three points since taking the reigns at The Showgrounds.
The boss was full of praise for his side’s efforts, including ‘keeper Chris Johns for denying David Cushley in added time.
“It’s great to get the win because everyone has been talking about it, and it’s the only thing people have been wanting to talk about,” he said.
“I don’t look for excuses, but people don’t want to give you an excuse of players being injured or suspended, and being down to the bare bones.
“But when I looked at the results so far we drew here with Linfield, we could have beat them; we drew at home against Ballymena with ten men after only 14 minutes, that wasn’t a bad result;we had a poor result away at Newry, we should be doing better there, and we shouldn’t be getting beat at home the way we did to Glenavon.
“Today’s result has taken a bit of pressure off the players.
“I thought we were decent last week in Wales. The conditions were very difficult and we were down in numbers.
“I’ve saw a major improvement in training in terms of the players application, and I knew we were going to get a performance today, you just worry if it was going to be enough.
“It was fantastic see see ‘Big G’ pop up with the winner and to see it hit the back of the net.
“When you look at the back four they defended marvellously and the two centre halves were exceptional.
“And Chris Johns makes a save with three minutes to go which was absolutely top drawer.
“I’m sure he’ll turn round and say that’s his job and that’s what he’s there for, but he did it ever so well.”
McAree was also full of praise for Alexander Gawne’s contribution as the attacker was introduced as a second-half substitute.
“At one stage I thought we maybe could have gone up the pitch and scored a second, but it’s difficult when you’ve come off a run of draws and the defeat against Glenavon.
“It’s difficult to have that confidence and belief to go and do that.
“At that stage it’s just about grinding it out and making sure you get the win.
“It’s a very good 1-0 win for us.
“Alex did very well again. Kyle Owens and Mark McChrystal picked up bookings and we tried to exploit that situation.
“I think they recognised that as well by taking McChrystal off and bringing on Rodney Brown.
“Alex has done exceptionally well, he knows he has to improve technically, but his workrate and enthusiasm is second to none.”
After welcoming back Josh Carson from the sidelines, there would be further frustration as Aaron Burns and James McLaughlin would both have to be withdrawn through injury.
“Josh did exceptionally well. I didn’t think he would have lasted the 90 minutes, but he’s a naturally fit boy,” he concluded.
“He’s a great footballer and he will improve off the back of that 90 minutes too.
“It’s actually James’s other hamstring that’s tightened.
“We will know more whenever it settles down a bit.
“We’re hoping Burnsy’s it just a bit of an impact. He’s a bit of swelling on the foot when he caught a trailing stud.”