Ards 0-4 Carrick Rangers
A great team performance from the 'Gers saw two goals either side of the half earn a first win of 2017.

With a quarter of an hour played, debutant Declan O’Brien clipped the ball into the box and after Daniel Kelly’s header was unknowingly saved by Aaron Hogg, Eamon McAllister was on hand to net against his former employers.

 

The hosts looked to hit back immediately as a foul from Paddy McNally gave former Leyton Orient man Josh Doherty a free-kick 25 yards out, but his effort was comfortably held by Brian Neeson.

 

Doherty tried his luck again as he was afforded time and space to let fly from distance, and this time Neeson was forced into tipping the powerful strike over the bar.

 

Then, somewhat against the run of play, Rangers added a second. McAllister’s corner-kick was headed away by Emmet Friars but Sean Noble was lurking on the edge of the area to control before firing a ferocious strike through a crowd of bodies to find the bottom corner for his first Carrick goal.

 

Colin Nixon’s men were unable to respond, as the Taylors Avenue outfit took a 2-0 lead in at the interval.

 

The East Antrim side continued their attacking dominance as the second half commenced, and Seanna Foster’s cross to the back post was so nearly met by a Kelly header.

 

Ards then nearly halved the deficit as Carl McComb ran through one-on-one, but Neeson did well to use his trailing leg to deny a goal.

 

O’Brien and Adam Salley both made good runs through the middle which would’ve seen them in one-on-one, but on each occasion the assistant referee flagged for offside.

 

Former ‘Gers player Kyle Cherry nearly came back to haunt his old team as he skilfully turned his man, but the resulting shot was high and wide to the relief of the visiting spectators.

 

On the hour mark Aaron Callaghan made his first substitution as Martin Murray replaced Mark Clarke.

 

And minutes later the third Rangers goal arrived. Substitute Martin Murray started the move as he switched the play to Noble on the right-wing who beat Michael Ruddy before finding O’Brien at the back post who nodded in. Friars tried to clear but Salley made sure by hammering in, however O’Brien’s initial header had crossed the line to give the Southerner a goal on his first start.

 

O’Brien was instrumental in goal number four too, as he burst into the box before being dragged down by Johnny Taylor. Martin Murray took the responsibility from the spot, and calmly sent Hogg the wrong way.

 

TJ Murray came on to replace the impressive O’Brien with 15 minutes left, and five minutes later Nathan McConnell replaced Adam Salley as the away side strived for more goals.

 

Martin Murray dragged a shot from distance wide of the mark, before a loose ball in the box found McConnell but Hogg was quick off his line to smother the striker’s shot. The game ended with a 4-0 victory for Carrick, in a superb team performance which could have massive implications in the ultimate fight for survival.

 

Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Foster, Surgenor, McNally, Smyth, Noble, Kelly, Clarke (M Murray, 61), McAllister, Salley (McConnell, 80), O’Brien (TJ Murray, 74).

 

Unused substitutes: Chapman, Morrow.

updated: 04 February 2017
NEXT FIXTURE
Glentoran
v
Carrick Rangers
The Oval, Belfast
Danske Bank Premiership
Friday 24 March 2017, kick off: 7:45pm
RECENT RESULTS
18/03/2017v Portadown(H)DBPW3-2more
11/03/2017v Crusaders(A)DBPL0-3more
25/02/2017v Glenavon(H)DBPD0-0more
18/02/2017v Ballymena United(H)LCL0-2more
11/02/2017v Linfield(H)DBPL0-2more
LEAGUE TABLE

 TeamPldWDLFAPts
 Crusaders 31 23 6 2 68 2575
 Linfield 31 20 8 3 66 2068
 Cliftonville 31 16 6 9 46 3254
 Coleraine 30 15 8 7 45 3053
 Ballymena United 30 16 3 11 62 5951
 Glenavon 31 11 12 8 46 4145
 Dungannon Swifts 31 9 9 13 51 5136
 Ards 31 9 6 16 46 5733
 Glentoran 31 8 9 14 33 4433
 Ballinamallard United 31 8 5 18 33 5829
 Carrick Rangers 32 5 6 21 26 6321
 Portadown 32 5 4 23 23 657