Ballymena United 3-1 Carrick Rangers
A late comeback from Ballymena United saw Carrick Rangers return to the Loughshore Hotel Arena empty handed despite another encouraging performance.

The hosts carved the first opening of the afternoon with not even 60 seconds on the clock; Jonathan McMurray’s shot from inside the box smashed off Harry Doherty’s post.


Moments later it looked as if United had opened the scoring as Joe McKinney’s header beat Doherty, however Andrew Mooney heroically hooked the ball off the line to keep the game level.


David Jeffrey’s side kept on the front foot as Cathair Friel got the best of Paddy McNally, but Doherty was alert to save.


At the other end, Mooney had two great chances on the half-hour mark as he first latched onto a long ball but could not beat Ross Glendinning, before being picked out in the box and hammering a half-volley into the goalkeeper’s hands.


Ex-Gers player Kyle Owens then went close as he headed powerfully towards goal, only to be superbly denied by a fingertip save from Doherty.


With a minute of the first half remaining, the visitors took the lead. Ben Roy did brilliantly to weave his way past a couple of players and get a shot off which was saved by Glendinning, but Eamon McAllister was on hand to sweep-up the re-bound and ensure that the Amber Army led at the break.


David McAlinden’s men had a great chance to double their lead early in the second half as Mooney was found in space inside the area by Michael Smith, but again Glendinning dived to deny the forward.


The Warden Street outfit went in search for an equaliser as Friel tried his luck from distance; his effort skimming the crossbar.


On the 70th minute Mark Surgenor replaced Andrew Mooney as the ‘Gers looked to see through their narrow margin.  


Friel was in on goal again as he was picked out by McMurray’s low cross from the left, however he failed to hit the target from close range.


As the game entered its final 15 minutes, the Sky Blues found their equaliser. Owens rose highest in the box to head a corner into the bottom corner past the helpless Doherty.


Only two minutes later, the Braidmen doubled their lead. Doherty came to the edge of his box to punch a cross away but the ball landed at the feet of Conor McCloskey who hooked the ball over the keeper’s head and into the empty net.


Two changes were then made as the Amber Army went in search for an equaliser, with Martin Maybin and Chris Morrow replacing Gavin Taggart and Michael Smith respectively.


It was to no avail, however, as Ballymena added a third soon after. Substitutes Matthew Shevlin was on hand at the back post to tap the ball in, ensuring his side’s late comeback was complete.


Carrick Rangers: Doherty; Chapman, McNally, Larmour, Edgar; McAllister, Taggart (Maybin, 78), Hassin, Roy; Mooney (Surgenor, 68), Smith (Morrow, 84).


Unused substitute: Gage, Clarke.

updated: 20 December 2017
Carrick Rangers
Ballymena United
Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena, Carrickfergus
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 21 July 2018, kick off: 3:00pm
17/07/2018v Linfield(H)F--more
07/07/2018v Ballynahinch Olympic(H)FW5-1more

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