Ballyclare Comrades may have averaged just a point per match but Gary Haveron reckons his Carrick team will have to up their game to get back to winning ways.
“We will be under no illusions that the Comrades will be difficult to beat. They always are,” assured Haveron, who stressed that a win is essential after twin disappointments last week.
“I thought we played very well on Tuesday at Solitude and I am very disappointed we didn’t force the match to extra-time at the very least,” he said.
“Certainly the result didn’t go near to reflecting the play. Cliftonville scored twice in the closing minute to distort the picture.
“I was always a wee bit concerned going to Ballyskeagh that we might not play our best because of the amount of effort expended against The Reds.
“And the one thing I warned against was a sluggish start against The Whites and that’s what happened. We conceded a sloppy goal because we didn’t defend properly.
“And, of course, Distillery are a stubborn, determined team and they were never going to let go of a lead easily.
“So when we got a penalty there was a lot of moaning and complaining and the referee didn’t help things when he showed a second yellow card to Distillery’s Jimmy McIlhagga and didn’t send him off.
“It was about five minutes before the penalty was ready to be taken and I had a bad feeling there was a negative impact in the whole situation and wasn’t really surprised when Miguel Chines sent the goalkeeper the wrong way, but drilled the ball the wrong side of the post.
“Eventually the referee realised his mistake and then did show the red card, but it was all too late and some of his later decisions didn’t do us much justice either.
“I don’t want to say much about their tactics in trying to hang on for a 1-0 win, because I might have done the same thing myself of roles were reversed, but it was a spoiling game that didn’t at all suit our style of play.”
Added Haveron: “Our keeper didn’t have a save to make for the rest of the game. We missed chance after chance and despite throwing on Anto Lagan and Adam Dick on up front, I didn’t think we’d get a goal.
“However, the pressure finally paid dividends and we scored through Aaron Traynor and really should have had a winner, had Conor McCloskey not scuffed his shot when set to burst the net.”
INSET: Carrick’s Ciaran Donaghy beats Jimmy McIlhagga to the ball during Saturday’s draw with Lisburn Distillery.