Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Picture: Pacemaker Belfast.
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney admitted that James McLaughlin's dismissal last night inevitably cost Coleraine all three points against Glentoran at The Oval.
A second-half penalty from Eoin Bradley and a spectacular header from Aaron Canning put the Bannsiders in the driving seat, however, James McLaughlin's dismissal proved the turning point for the Stripes. The striker seemed to put a late tackle on Glens defender Patrick McClean near the halfway line leaving referee no choice but to send McLaughlin for an early bath.
Reflecting on last night's match, Kearney said: “We were left disappointed in the outcome of the game.
“Not that you should rely on it, but there are a couple of big moments that change it (the game) for us.
“The first one surrounded a penalty decision in the same area as the one we ere awarded but the referee and linesman opted not to give the second one,” Kearney explained.
He continued: “I spoke to James (McLaughlin) in the changing room after the game and I told him that I would like to see the challenge back again because it did look rash.
“I don't know what everyone else's view is but in saying that it is still no justification because we should not be in that scenario.
“I can see fit if we were 2-0 down through pure frustration, but when we were 2-0 up and managing the game superbly, the decision that he takes at that point in time to enter into that type of a challenge is crazy and it hurt us big time,” he admitted.
It was a highly entertaining game in East Belfast last night as both teams searched for their first win of the season, The opening chance of the game fell to Coleraine inside the opening ten minutes as James McLaughlin had a powerful header saved.
Mick McDermott's men responded shortly after as Hrvoje Plum's driven shot called Chris Johns into action.
Eoin Bradley looped an effort over the crossbar for the Bannsiders as Jamie Glackin was left frustrated after former Derry City defender Gavin Peers blocked his goal-bound effort before half time.
Darren Murray hit the base of the post with a header for the Glens prior to half-time in what was a frantic first half. Coleraine started the better but the home side grew into the game with both sides unlucky not to have hit the net in the opening 45 minutes.
After the restart, Coleraine were awarded a penalty after Eoin Bradley was hauled down by Glentoran full-back Ross Redman inside the box. The striker dusted himself down to hit the spot-kick with aplomb as he coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Aaron Canning doubled Coleraine's lead before James McLaughlin was sent off, leaving the door open for Glentoran. The home side made the extra man count as Plum's pinpoint free-kick reduced the deficit before Paul O'Neill salvaged a point with just minutes remaining.
It was kitchen-sink time after that as Glentoran launched the ball into the box as they went in search of a winner. However, Coleraine held firm for a point in what was a frustrating night for the travelling Bannsiders' faithful.
The games are coming thick and fast for Oran Kearney's men as they now switch their attentions to a trip to The National Stadium at Windsor Park to face champions Linfield this weekend.
GLENTORAN: Antolovic, Peers, Herron, Murray, McDaid, McClean, Byrne (Allen ’72 mins), Crowe, Redman (Van Overbeek ’65 mins), Plum, Smith (O’Neill ’74 mins).
Subs Not Used: Morris (GK), Birney, Frazer, Gordon.
COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan, Canning, Doherty, Lowry, McLaughlin, Bradley (Gawne ’88 mins), Carson, McConaghie, O’Donnell, Glackin.
Subs Not Used: Doherty (GK), Kane, Douglas, Burns, Shiels, McGuckin.
Referee: Lee Tavinder
*You can read the full report and reaction from the Linfield clash inside next week's Chronicle.