Rangers carried three consecutive defeats into this contest as Stuart King opted to shuffle his pack — notably, Ben Buchanan-Rolleston started in place of the injured Ben Tilney on the left while Andy Mitchell returned from his own spell on the sidelines to start the game.
Yet, despite competing well against Warren Feeney’s side in the opening stages, the ‘Gers found themselves behind after less than fifteen minutes.
Marcus Kane wasn’t picked up in the box and the defender got his head on the end of a free-kick to flick the ball into the far corner of the net.
The visitors then came close to grabbing an instant equaliser when Danny Purkis’ effort from inside the area was denied by a fantastic stop from Glentoran ‘keeper Aaron McCarey.
It was the hosts, though, who were left wondering how they hadn’t added a second before the break as Jay Donnelly sent a header crashing off the crossbar before his strike partner Junior could only turn the rebound onto the outside of the post.
After regrouping at half time, Carrick came out fighting following the interval and drew level just seven minutes into the second period.
When Mitchell’s corner was cleared out to the edge of the box it was recycled to him by Kyle Cherry, allowing him a second attempt at a delivery which this time picked out Danny Purkis free in the area who took a touch before slotting the ball past McCarey.
The Glens, however, recaptured their lead on the 70th minute with a goal similar to their first; Daire O’Connor’s cross into the box finding the unmarked Jay Donnelly who headed beyond Ross Glendinning.
Refusing to give up, resilient Rangers responded once again.
A pinpoint pass from Nedas Maciulaitis found Purkis in behind centre-half Paddy McClean who, when going to ground to try and dispossess the striker, was adjudged to have handled the ball.
Referee Lee Tavinder showed McClean his second yellow card, sending him off and awarding a penalty to the ‘Gers which Purkis confidently dispatched to restore parity.
Numerically advantaged and full of belief, Carrick found their winning goal in the 83rd minute.
Cherry floated a corner-kick towards the front post where substitute Curtis Allen had ghosted in with an untracked run, allowing him to nod the ball in and send his side in front for the first time in the game.
Glentoran had appeals for a penalty dismissed in the dying minutes of injury time as Junior went down just inside the area under the challenge of Cameron Stewart. Fortunately for the away side, referee Lee Tavinder was unmoved by the protests.
Withstanding wave-after-wave of late pressure, the ‘Gers held on to pick up a fantastic result and an important three points.
Glentoran: Aaron McCarey; Aidan Wilson, Luke McCullough, Paddy McClean; Daire O’Connor, James Singleton, Fuad Sule (David Fisher, 88), Marcus Kane (Shay McCartan, 61), Cameron Palmer (Sean Murray, 78); Jay Donnelly, Junior.
Unused substitutes: Ollie Webber, Ruaidhrí Donnelly, Josh Kelly, Niall McGinn.
Bookings: Marcus Kane (20’), Paddy McClean (63’), Aidan Wilson (90+4’)
Red Card: Paddy McClean (73’)
Carrick Rangers: Ross Glendinning; Lewis MacKinnon, Mark Surgenor, Reece Glendinning; Kurtis Forsythe, Andy Mitchell (Josh Andrews, 79), Kyle Cherry, Ben Buchanan-Rolleston; Danny Purkis (Cameron Stewart, 79), Emmett McGuckin (Jaydyn Withers, 90+1), Nedas Maciulaitis (Curtis Allen, 79).
Unused substitutes: Ben McCauley, Callum Mills, Jack Montgomery.
Bookings: Kyle Cherry (26’), Reece Glendinning (57’), Emmett McGuckin (90+1’), Ben Buchanan-Rolleston (90+1’)
Referee: Lee Tavinder