Carrick Rangers 2-0 Ballinamallard United
Two Andrew Mooney goals gifted Carrick Rangers their first Danske Bank Premiership win of the 2017/18 season on Friday evening at the Loughshore Hotel Arena.

Birthday boy Aaron Smyth had the first chance of the night as he was found by Lee Chapman, but the full-back’s shot was held by Richard Brush in the United goal.


Chapman’s service continued as his cross made its way to the back post where Mooney somehow failed to convert past Brush with the goal gaping as the ‘keeper bundled the ball away.


Maybin then shot from distance and when Brush dropped his shot, Chapman could only send the rebound over from close range.


Ben Roy had two good chances as he firstly sent a low shot wide before he fired a scorcher of an effort just over Brush’s bar.


At the other end, Paddy McNally had to be alert to produce a superb block to stop Josh McIlwaine’s shot.


Striker Martin Maybin tried his luck with a shot from distance soon after which was easily gathered by Brush.


‘Mallards midfielder Richard Clarke then sent a long-range shot wide of Harry Doherty’s post.


With 37 minutes on the clock, young Mooney opened the scoring. Aaron Canning’s stray ball was capitalised on by the former Cliftonville man who, seeing Brush off his line, dinked the ‘keeper from outside the box for a superb goal.


Two minutes later Chapman sent a cross to the back post where Roy slammed a volley goalwards, however Brush pulled off a brilliant save to tip the ball onto the post and away from danger.


There were two final chances for David McAlinden’s men as Mooney headed just wide before Mark Surgenor bundled the ball in, but was ruled out for offside; leaving it at a 1-0 advantage for Rangers at the break.


Carrick kept up the pressure in the second half as Smyth’s free-kick found Maybin who flicked a header towards goal which beat Brush, but trickled just past the post.


Mooney had a chance for another on the hour mark as the constantly creative Chapman sent in a low cross but the forward scuffed his shot wide.


Moments later, the exciting striker made amends to double up. Mooney picked the ball up in his own half and went on a tantalising run which saw him beat a few Ballinamallard players before coolly slotting past the onrushing Brush.


Gavin Dykes’ outfit looked for a way back into the game as Jay McCartney stood over a free-kick however the midfielder sent his effort over the bar.


Winger Shane McGinty then struck the ball towards the bottom corner but Doherty was equal to his effort.


As the game entered its final 10 minutes, the ‘Gers looked to see things through as Chris Morrow and Michael Smith replaced Martin Maybin and Ben Roy respectively.


Centre-half Denver Gage had a great chance to register his first goal for the club as he got on the end of Gavin Taggart’s corner, however Brush did well to hold his effort.


Chris Trussell then replaced Andrew Mooney with the game in its final minutes.


Trussell nearly made an immediate impact as he found himself in time and space when through on goal, but he sent an early effort wide of Brush’s post.


The County Fermanagh side had a chance to pull a goal back in the final minute as Gage brought down McGinty inside the area. Substitute Ryan Curran stepped up to the mark, but Doherty denied him to make his second penalty save of the season; ensuring it finished 2-0 to the Taylors Avenue men on the evening.


Domino’s Pizza Man of the Match as chosen by the Spirit of ’76 Carrick Rangers Supporters Club was awarded to Lee Chapman.


Carrick Rangers: Doherty; Smyth, Gage, McNally, Edgar; Chapman, Surgenor, Taggart, Roy (Smith, 81); Maybin (Morrow, 81), Mooney (Trussell, 87).


Unused substitutes: McAllister, McMullan.

updated: 26 August 2017

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 Coleraine 38 26 11 1 76 3189
 Glenavon 38 19 12 7 85 5269
 Linfield 38 20 7 11 72 4667
 Cliftonville 38 20 5 13 68 4565
 Glentoran 38 14 9 15 52 5251
 Ballymena United 38 14 6 18 53 6548
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 Ards 38 12 4 22 42 7440
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 Carrick Rangers 38 6 5 27 31 7823
 Ballinamallard United 38 5 8 25 39 8923