The hosts nearly got off to a perfect
start after Reece Neale’s corner-kick in the first minute picked out Darren
Murray, however the striker glanced his effort wide.
At the other end, ‘Point thought they
had taken the lead soon after when the ball broke kindly to Brandon Doyle to
nod in from close range, only to have his celebrations cut short by the assistant
referee’s flag signalling offside.
The Q Radio Arena outfit continued their
positive start to the game as Alan O’Sullivan then drove a low strike just wide
of the upright.
On 20 minutes, a handball in the
penalty area saw referee Lee Tavinder point to the penalty spot, giving the ‘Gers
the chance to take the lead. Centre-half Caolan Loughran took the responsibility
of stepping up to the spot and he coolly dispatched the ball into the bottom corner
to break the deadlock.
It could have been two for the East
Antrim side soon after as Stewart Nixon made his way down the left flank before
cutting the ball back to Reece Neale inside the box whose well-struck shot was
tipped past the post by Mark Byrne.
Harry Doherty then produced a good
save of his own to keep things as they were; reacting quickly to tip a Ryan
Swan effort past the post and make sure his side held onto their slender
advantage at the interval.
It was Loughran who, at the start of
the second half, looked as if he could bag a brace, however he dragged a volley
from the edge of the area wide of the mark.
A Nixon delivery from a corner-kick was
then met at the back post by Daniel Kelly who headed just wide.
Hoping to rejuvenate his side, Niall
Currie made a double substitution just after the hour mark as Kyle Cherry
replaced Daniel Kelly while debutant Daniel Reynolds came on for Stewart Nixon
Warrenpoint continued their hunt for a
goal as ex-Gers player Eamon Scannell saw a low strike held by Doherty.
In the final change of the afternoon,
Liam Hassin replaced Lloyd Anderson in the middle of the park.
In the third minute of injury time,
the visitors were awarded from penalty. A mistimed Danny Magill challenge saw
referee Tavinder award the spot-kick and it was O’Sullivan who stepped up and
sent Doherty the wrong way.
Not even sixty seconds later, Barry
Gray’s side won the game. A free kick was headed across goal by Danny Wallace
into the path of Swan who finished to complete a smash and grab and take all
Carrick Rangers: Doherty; Magill, Surgenor,
Loughran; Carson, Faulkner, D. Kelly (Cherry, 65), Neale; Anderson (Hassin, 78);
Nixon (Reynolds, 65), Murray.
Unused substitutes: Nicholl, Rodgers,
Smith, E. Kelly.