Chris shows he’s a safe pair of hands

Coleraine 'keeper Chris Johns. Lorcan Doherty /
Coleraine 'keeper Chris Johns. Lorcan Doherty /

Coleraine’s future looks to be in safe hands with Chris Johns.

The 21-year-old has developed into one of the top goalkeepers in the Irish League, and has been instrumental in the Bannsiders excellent form this season.

“We’ve got a great winning mentality and we have a lot of momentum, we are on a fantastic run.”

Chris Johns

On Saturday he rightly picked up the Man of the Match award in the 1-0 win over reigning champions Crusaders.

He nullified their aerial prowess with a commanding display in between the sticks.

But it didn’t just happen by chance as Johns explained afterwards.

“I made my Coleraine debut against Crusaders - and that was a baptism of fire,” he told Times Sport.

“So I knew what to expect against them.

“It’s not easy to keep a clean sheet against those guys.

“But by no means was the win based on me, it was a great team performance.”

Johns helped frustrate the league leaders with some very assured handling on Saturday.

Every time the ball was thrown into the Coleraine box the number one came and dealt with it.

But he had to be on his toes right until the dying seconds when the visitors almost rescued a point.

Jordan Forsythe’s bullet header looked destined for the top corner but for a superb one-handed save by Johns.

“I thought it would be nice to make a save and make it look good with the cameras here,” he joked.

“It was a great header, but I got a good hand to it and thankfully got it over the crossbar.”

Now all attention turns to Saturday’s Irish Cup semi final against Glenavon (kick off 5.15pm).

And Johns is relishing another big game.

“There’s a great buzz about the place,” he added.

“The fans are really getting behind us - you can feel it when you walk out on to the pitch.

“We’ve got a great winning mentality and we have a lot of momentum, we are on a fantastic run.

“There is no negativity in that dressing room, it’s positive vibes all round. It’s a matter of keep that run going, especially with the Irish Cup semi final coming up.”

Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney was delighted with the performance of his keeper.

“Chris has a great attitude, he’s only 21 and has such a big future ahead of him,” he said.

“ He had just been announced as man of the match so he needed to make that save.

“From crosses, long throws, free kicks and corners today he was fantastic.

“His father played a bit of rugby for Ireland and probably jumped in lineouts like that!”