IRISH LEAGUE REACTION: Opportunity missed - Oran

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye 

Cliftonville's Ruairi Harkin and Coleraine's David Kee in action during the game at Solitude in North Belfast on 17th September 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Cliftonville's Ruairi Harkin and Coleraine's David Kee in action during the game at Solitude in North Belfast on 17th September 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )

There has been loads of great encounters between Coleraine and Cliftonville down the years.

Saturday’s clash at Solitude certainly won’t go down as one of them though.

In a game of few chances it always looked like one goal would be enough to win it.

And so it proved as the hosts grabbed the only goal of the game in the second half.

It was harsh on the Bannsiders who deserved to take at least a point back up the road with them.

On balance of play and chances created Oran Kearney’s side were every bit as good, if not better than their opponents.

The Bannsiders should have broken the deadlock on 21 minutes as a mix up between Jaimie McGovern and keeper Jason Mooney saw Chris Johns’s long free kick beat them both, however James McLaughlin snatched at the loose ball and fired over the empty net.

Coleraine almost edged in front before the hour mark after a poor clearance from McGovern teed up Jamie McGonigle, his first time shot though cannoned off the post with Mooney well beaten.

Those missed chances proved costly as the Reds took the lead on 63 minutes.

A long ball caused confusion in the Coleraine defence and Daniel Hughes brought the ball down before slotting past Chris Johns.

The Bannsiders carved out a couple of half chances before the end but they just couldn’t find an equaliser.

“I think we deserved to take something from today’s game,” Kearney told Times Sport after the game.

“When you look at our overall play and chances created we are aggrieved to be going away without even so much as a point.

“We have possibly created more chances than Cliftonville, but we know the game is about putting the ball in the back of the net not how many chances you create.”

Opposite number Gerard Lyttle was relieved to pick up the points. “Three points is all that matters at the end of the day,” he said.

“We’ve had a bit of bad luck in some games, last week we didn’t get any points. We were beaten by two penalties and a deflected goal, so I would take a 1-0 win all day.”

Cliftonville: Mooney, McGovern, Ives, McGuinness, Knowles, J Donnelly (Curran 64), Hughes, Harkin, Winchester (Catney 81), M Donnelly (McDaid 83), Cosgrove. Subs: Bonner, G Donnelly. Goal: Hughes (63)

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Brown, Douglas, Ogilby (Morrow 85), McCafferty, Kee, Parkhill (Allan 74), McGonigle (Twigg 65), McCauley, McLaughlin. Subs: Higgins, Edgar.

Referee: Tim Marshall