It was Dungannon Swifts with the first opportunity of the
afternoon as ex-Gers player Ryan Waide found space just outside the area, but
he sent his shot over the bar.
With 25 minutes played, Kris Lindsay’s side took the lead.
Mark Patton broke forward from midfield and found Oisin Smyth who cooly stroked
the ball past Aaron Hogg to give his side the lead.
Then 11 minutes later, the hosts doubled their lead. Waide’s
cross from the left evaded everyone except for Kris Lowe who had the simplest of
tasks to put into an empty net at the back post.
Controversy would come soon after as Reece Neale’s cross from
the left hit the bar, with assistant referee George Argyropoulos then raising
his flag before lowering it again moments later. As referee Andrew Davey took
no action, Lee Chapman was alert to collect the loose ball and cross for
Stewart Nixon to find the net.
Despite initally giving the goal, referee Davey then decided
to review the situation with the help of his assistant Argryopoulous and rule
the goal out.
In the final action of the first half, a Nixon cross was
headed wide of the upright by James Ferrin as the home side took a two goal
advantage in at the break.
With the second half only two minutes old, Rangers pulled a
goal back. Chapman got the better of Ross Redman in the penalty area before
firing a low strike into the far corner to bring his side back into the game.
Chris Rodgers then picked up an injury and had to be
substituted, with Caolan Loughran taking his place in defence.
On the hour mark, Nixon did well to cut in from the left wing
and get off a right-footed shot which curled just the wrong side of the post.
Guillaume Keke then took the place of William Faulkner as the
visitors went in search of an equaliser.
That leveller almost came just minutes later as Liam Hassin
played the ball into the path of Chapman, but when one-on-one it was Sam
Johnston who came out on top with a good save.
In the final change of the game, Kyle Cherry replaced James
Ferrin on 66 minutes as the East Antrim side continued striving for an
As the game entered its final fifteen minutes, a speculative
long-range effort from Caolan Loughran floated just over the crossbar.
Seven minutes from time, a powerful strike from Reece Neale
looked as if it was destined for the top corner but Johnston produced a
fantastic save to deny the left-back.
In the end, Niall Currie’s men were unable to get anything from
a game which was frustrating for a number of reasons.
Carrick Rangers: Hogg; Ferrin (Cherry, 66), Surgenor, Rodgers
(Loughran, 55); Chapman, Kelly, Hassin, Neale; Faulkner (Keke, 60); Nixon,
Unused substitutes: McAuley, Carson, Thompson, Anderson.