Coleraine draw a blank at Portadown

It's seven league games without a win now for below-par Bannsiders

Coleraine draw a blank at Portadown

Oran Kearney.

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

damianmullan@thechronicle.uk.com

COLERAINE'S recent woes continued with a scoreless draw against Portadown at Shamrock Park on Saturday.

Despite dominating, the visitors had little to show for their efforts over the hour and a half.

A good Stephen Lowry chance in the first half was the closest they came to scoring but Ports' keeper Jethren Barr produced a good save to deny the midfielder.

The rest of the time they huffed and puffed but with little success.

The hosts weren't much better: they failed to have one shot on target on an afternoon when returning goalkeeper Gareth Deane could have delayed his return from injury by a week.

The inability to score prompted Bannsiders' boss to change his striking partnership in the second half, replacing Matthew Shevlin and Curtis Allen with Eoin Bradley and James McLaughlin.

Teenager Patrick Kelly was introduced late on in a last throw of the dice but to no avail, Portadown, with former Coleraine man Howard Beverland at the heart of their defence, standing firm.

The result means it's almost two months since Coleraine last won a league game - at home to Larne in mid-November - surely a cause for worry among management and players.

Manager Oran Kearney admitted as much in the post-match interviews.

He and his team face their most difficult situation in some time.

A lack of victories has clearly had an impact on confidence but it's a lack of quality in the final third which is hindering the team the most.

They have failed to score in five out of seven league games - including yesterday - since the Larne victory, a worrying development for a team which was among the highest scorers in the first half of the season.

Plenty of work to do then before the visit of Carrick Rangers this weekend.

The only positive on a forgettable afternoon was that the point was enough to return Coleraine to the top half of the table following Ballymena Utd's defeat at Linfield.

A small crumb of comfort.

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