After a run of three games without a win Coleraine got themselves back on track with a 1-0 win over struglling Ards at The Showgrounds.
Jamie McGonigle’s second half header sealed the deserved win for the Bannsiders, who should have had the game wrapped up by half time if truth be told.
But after defeats to Warrenpoint Town and Newry City over the last two week home boss Rodney McAree was pleased with the win and the endeavour from his players.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us in terms of results and today we asked for more hard work and we certainly got that,” he said.
“We could have easily won the game by more than one goal but after the last two performances, we would have accepted a 1-0 win.
“It’s a great clean sheet and a good win in difficult conditions but I thought we played quite well especially in the first-half.
“I felt we could have gone in two or three to the good but we maybe weren’t just clinical enough in front of goal.
“Maybe that’ll come through winning games, scoring goals and through a little bit more confidence but today will help bring that back.”
Coleraine’s injury problems have been well documented, but McAree was boosted by the return of Lyndon Kane after nearly eight months out.
The defender was excellent on his first game back since April, looking like he had never been away.
“Lyndon’s performance was fantastic and it was great to see as it gives everyone a lift,” said McAree.
“That’s my first experience of managing Lyndon and he’s everything you want in a player.
“He has bags of enthusiasm, he is as honest as the day is long and he has quality to go along with it.
“It was also great to get through the game and not have to use Aaron Burns and James McLaughlin as it gives them another week to recover from niggles.
“Stevie O’Donnell had to miss out today because his knee is holding him back.
“As captain of the club he feels it’s his responsibility to push through pain barriers and play, but we have such a busy schedule coming up we need to make sure we keep everyone fit.”
For Ards it was a case of déjà vu as yet again they failed to trouble the scorers.
Colin Nixon’s side have only managed to find the net 14 times in the 19 games to date, and he knows they need to address that if they are to have any chance of staying up.
“It’s another game were we don’t score, and if you don’t score you’re not going to win matches,” he said.
“That’s been our problem all season, we haven’t scored enough goals and that’s why we are where we are.
“I just said to the boys in there that we’re at the halfway stage and I genuinely believe we need some fresh blood that is going to get us some goals.
“They are a great bunch to work with, the endeavour is there, the work rate is there.
“Any supporter here today will know the players gave their all, but it is just the quality now that is really hurting us.
“Unfortunately this league is very unforgiving and that’s how we’re finding it at the minute.
“The conditions were very difficult for them today and it took them about 10 or 15 minutes to get a foothold in the game.
“As the half wore on we came into the game, we started to create a few chances, which we know we can do but we don’t put the ball in the net at the critical times.
“I ended up having the same team talk I have every game - ‘we need to score or we’re not going to win’.
“We don’t do enough to score in the second half, and we concede a soft goal, and Coleraine get the three points.”