Ballymena United 0-2 Carrick Rangers
By Paul Alexander
Carrick Rangers defeated Ballymena United at the Ballymena Showgrounds for a second time this season on Saturday afternoon in the Danske Bank Premiership.
The opening 20 minutes of the encounter lacked notable openings for either side. Following the early stages, it was the Sky Blues who created the majority of opportunities. On 22 minutes Kyle Owens directed the ball wide of goal after a corner from the right by Steven McCullough.
The left wing-back delivered another corner from the right seconds later which was sent over by Leroy Millar. In the 25th minute, there was a chance for debutant striker Joe McCready. Jonny Addis slid at the ball on the byline and knocked it towards McCready whose low shot into a crowd of players was deflected wide.
After the resulting corner kick, the ball would eventually reach Jude Winchester although his rising strike cleared the Carrick crossbar. With half an hour played, visiting goalkeeper Harry Doherty produced a good save as he got down quickly to block a well-hit attempt from McCullough.
Ballymena’s Ross Glendinning was also tested in the opposite goal as he dived to his right to keep out Caolan Loughran’s free-kick from about 20 yards. The away side then took the lead with 40 minutes played.
Darren Murray’s cross from the byline on the right was met by Kyle Cherry whose header looped into the top left corner. United’s James Knowles had a chance from a free kick in first-half stoppage time but it was directed wide of the left post.
The second half was significantly quieter when compared with the opening period. Within a minute of the restart, a Loughran free-kick towards the bottom right corner of the hosts’ goal was saved by Glendinning.
Niall Currie’s side went 2-0 ahead in the 56th minute of the game. Central midfielder Cherry delivered a long-range free-kick from the right-wing before Daniel Kelly nodded back across goal from the far post.
Ballymena United: Ross Glendinning, Addis, Whiteside, Owens, McCullough, Millar, Knowles (J. Kelly, 65), Winchester (T. Kane, 65), McGrory, Friel (K. Kane, 68), McCready
Subs not used: Andrew Burns, Balmer, Reece Glendinning, Lavery
Carrick Rangers: Doherty, Loughran, Surgenor, Magill, Neale, Anderson (Faulkner, 82), D. Kelly, Cherry, Chapman (Carson, 13), Gawne (Reynolds, 89), Murray
Subs not used: Nicholl, Hassin, Colligan, Hoy
Referee: Ian McNabb
In-Touch Man of the Match: Kyle Cherry (Carrick)