The quality of Cliftonville’s goals were a highlight of yesterday’s 2-0 victory over Coleraine, according to Paddy McLaughlin.
Having been kept at bay by a fine first-half performance from visiting goalkeeper Gareth Deane, the Reds struck twice shortly after the interval with Ryan Curran applying the finishing touch to a brace of eye-catching moves.
His 48th minute opener came from a first-time Kris Lowe delivery after Jamie McDonagh had turned on an assertive Jonny Addis pass, while the second saw Curran thread Ronan Doherty into possession before getting on the end of a delicate touch from McDonagh.
“It was a professional performance,” said McLaughlin.
“I thought in the first-half, we were really good and really dominant. Big Gareth Deane was superb for Coleraine, even in the second-half he was excellent and pulled off a couple of great saves. On another day, we could have scored a couple more so, in that sense, it probably looks as though it was comfortable but it’s never comfortable against Coleraine because they’re a good side with really good players.
“I thought anything the boys had to do throughout the 90 minutes, they were very professional and very accomplished in doing it. The back four were excellent, the midfield were winning a lot of second balls and, if it wasn’t for big Deane in goals, I think our forwards all could have scored at some stage.
“We looked like we had a lot of goals in us and it was a really solid performance against a good side.
“The goals we scored, there was a lot of build-up to them, it wasn’t just goals out of nothing where we’ve thrown the ball into the box and got lucky. They were goals that were well worked and the boys are good at that, they’ve got that in their locker and whenever you take the shackles off them and let them play and enjoy themselves, that’s what they can do.”
Cliftonville had endured a frustrating opening 45 minutes that saw them carve out a raft of opportunities only for a combination of near misses and fine saves to keep them at bay – and the Manager asked his players for more of the same application in the second-half.
“The only message we gave them at half-time was that they were well in control of the game, we’re looking lively, we’re looking dangerous but we’ve got to get the better of this keeper,” he added.
“I thought if we took the lead, there was a good chance we could go on and push to get another and that proved to be the case. We didn’t make any adjustments to what we were doing in the first-half – it was just about trying to get the lead because if Coleraine got it, you know how strong they are, they’re very good at defending leads so it was important we scored the first goal.
“Coleraine have been one of the top sides in the division for the last four or five years and were unfortunate not to win the League the last couple of seasons, so to get a win against them is hard earned and you’ve got to play well against them, which we did.”