Carrick Rangers 1-1 Ballymena United
A brave battling display from Carrick Rangers on Tuesday evening earned the Taylors Avenue side their first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Ballymena United.

David McAlinden’s men were the first to threaten through captain Mark Surgenor; the midfielder’s powerful strike being tipped over the bar by Ross Glendenning after one minute.


Moments later wing-back Mark Edgar tried his luck with a free-kick from distance, but he bended his effort wide of the mark.


Former ‘Gers player Conor McCloskey then picked out striker Kevin Braniff with a cross, however the former Glenavon frontman could only stab wide.


Ben Roy looked to make an impact soon after as he sent an audacious strike just over the bar with Glendenning beaten in the Ballymena goal.


Both sides battled hard for the remainder of the first half, with the biggest chance falling for Braniff who smashed his free-kick off the post, leaving it level at half time.


Six minutes into the second half, David Jeffrey’s men took the lead. Tony Kane’s free-kick from wide left was flicked into his own net by the unfortunate Denver Gage.


United looked for an immediate second as Joe McKinney firstly skied a shot from 20 yards before Braniff’s effort from Kane’s pull-back was sent wide.


On the hour mark the ‘Gers then found an equaliser. Mark Clarke’s super through ball picked out Andrew Mooney who evaded the Braidmen’s defence to coolly send the ball past Glendenning.


Minutes later Chris Trussell came on in the place of Mikel Suarez to make his Rangers debut.


Goalkeeper Harry Doherty then had to be alert to make a fantastic save, tipping Kane’s goal bound free-kick over the bar.


With 20 minutes remaining, the ‘Gers were awarded a penalty. Surgenor was fouled by ex-Rangers man Steven McCullough in the area, giving referee Lee Tavinder no option but to point to the spot. Roy stepped up to the mark but failed to hit the target, sending the ball wide from 12 yards.


That was to be Roy’s last involvement in the game, as he was replaced by Martin Maybin soon after.


Edgar then delivered another teasing set-piece to the back post where Gage rose highest to connect with his head, however he steered his effort just wide of the near post.


As the Warden Street outfit piled on the pressure in the closing stages of the game, Gavin Taggart replaced Lee Chapman to freshen up the legs in the middle of the park.


Rangers’ stayed strong in defence in the final minutes, ensuring a hard-earned point was sealed at the Loughshore Hotel Arena.


Domino’s Pizza Man of the Match as chosen by the Spirit of ’76 Supporters Club was awarded to goal scorer Andrew Mooney.


Carrick Rangers: Doherty; Chapman (Taggart, 80), McMullan, McNally, Gage, Edgar; Surgenor, Clarke, Roy (Maybin, 68); Mooney, Suarez (Trussell, 63).


Unused substitutes: Morrow, Malone.

updated: 16 August 2017
Carrick Rangers
Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena, Carrickfergus
Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday 24 February 2018, kick off: 3:00pm
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 Linfield 28 16 4 8 56 3352
 Cliftonville 28 15 4 9 52 3449
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 Ballymena United 25 10 5 10 41 4435
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 Carrick Rangers 28 3 5 20 21 6214
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