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Match Reaction

Nip and Tuck – OK

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney admits both teams will feel they could have won yesterday’s tight encounter as they drew 0-0 with Cliftonville at The Showgrounds…

The Reds would enjoy the majority of the possession in the first-half but it would be the hosts who would have the best opportunity as Luke McNicholas saved smartly from Matthew Shevlin’s half volley.

The Stripes would smash the crossbar through Eoin Bradley in the second-half but it took an outstanding stop from Gareth Deane to prevent the visitors from taking the lead as the shot stopper managed to somehow claw away Jonny Addis’ effort.

Speaking to Coleraine TV, Kearney remarked that he was pleased with his side’s second-half performance despite not finding the elusive breakthrough.

“The conditions didn’t make it easy for either team,” he said.

“As 0-0’s go, I thought it was a pretty exciting one.

“I think we’ve had enough chances to probably win the game, but we also have to rely on a magical save from Gareth Deane as well to not lose it.

“You can look at it both ways from that point of view.

“Our second half performance was a huge amount better, with our first half being a bitty at times.

“I thought after the interval we really got to grips with it and we’ve hit the bar and had a few other chances, we were unfortunate not to get a goal.”

Skinner almost made an immediate impact as he was introduced from the bench as his lob hit the bar and away to safety.

However, at the other end, the Stripes registered their tenth clean sheet from 15 Danske Bank Premiership fixtures.

“You would ideally want that chance seven or eight minutes later when Skinner’s a bit warmer and had a few more touches of the ball,” Kearney continued.

“It comes so quick, and with the rate the ‘keeper is coming out at it, it is the right decision and he just over cooks it by an inch and a little bit lower it is going to hit the underside of the bar and hit the net.

“The key thing is not conceding and clean sheets have been a big part of our season so far.

“Cliftonville are a good side, they have a huge amount of firepower and had a lot of balls into the box today.

“However, more importantly, I thought how Gareth managed the back four and dealt with everything was brilliant.

“He hasn’t had a pile of saves to make today.

“In my opinion, if you’re a busy ‘keeper and he’s made five or six saves in the game already, before making that one at the end, you are still going to rave about it.

“In footballing terms, whenever he has stood there for 65 or 70 minutes without much to do, it’s far harder to have that concentration and be alert which makes that save even better.”

The Bannsiders announced new deals for Ronan Wilson and Gareth Deane towards the latter end of this week, with Kearney hoping his side can reach the levels required to secure a positive result against Glentoran on Tuesday night.

“We are very happy,” said Kearney at the contract news.

“We want to keep our best players and the ones who are deserving of the opportunities and ones who have grabbed their opportunities.

“Both players have done that and it’s great they’ll be with us for the future.

“There’s a big foundation to build on from today’s performance.

“We know the levels we have to get to if we are going to get results in these games.

“Tuesday night will be no different than the game today and we have to chin the bar.”