Championship 1: Carrick Rangers 2 Ballyclare Comrades 0

(l-r) Carrick boss Gary Haveron and Ballyclare manager Eddie Hill.
(l-r) Carrick boss Gary Haveron and Ballyclare manager Eddie Hill.

Carrick Rangers got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Ballyclare at Taylor’s Avenue.

A first-half Miguel Chines strike put the home side in the driving seat and a late goal from sub Adam Dick sealed the deal.

The Comrades were forced to play the final 20 minutes without the services of centre-back Denver Gage who was sent off for two bookable offences. It’s now four league games without a win for Eddie Hill’s men.

After a quiet opening 20 minutes, Carrick frontman Chines was the architect of the first meaningful chance of the game when his reverse pass found McCloskey down the inside-left. The former Portadown man’s initial effort was saved by the advancing Paddy Flood and his second bite at the cherry was blocked by Reds’ skipper McCart.

Shortly before the half-hour mark Chines again set McCloskey on his way. He skipped past Doherty but his low shot zipped wide of the upright. Thirty seconds later McCloskey headed over from Ryan Kane’s cross.

Ballyclare’s big chance to break the deadlock came when young Joel Cooper burst into the box from the left and drove a shot across goal which Carrick stopper Brian Neeson parried into the path of Gage. However, the big centre-back, with time on his side, fired his snap-shot wide of the post.

It was Carrick who went in the happier at the interval when the ever-alert Chines took full adavantage of McCart’s failure to deal with a routine ball, racing on to slide the ball past Flood.

Carrick had the edge for the majority of the second session without ever really threatening to kill the game off. That said, Ben Roy and Kyle Cherry both came close from free-kicks outside the box.

Ballyclare’s chances of getting anything from the game diminished further when Gage was sent off for two bookable offences - both on Chines.

Dick brought some spark to Carrick’s play, providing chances first for Roy and then for Chines, who steered a shot agonisingly wide of the post.

Dick was rewarded for his creative display deep into time added on when he fired in Carrick’s second of the afternoon to wrap up a welcome three points.

Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Smith, McKenna, Taggart, Kelly, Harmon (McConnell 82), McCloskey, Cherry (Browne 75), Kane (Dick 65), Roy, Chines. Subs not used: Arthur.

Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Doherty, McCart, Gage, Buckley, Brown, McClean (McClurg 55), McIlveen, Cooper (Smith 73), Trussell, Reid (Gray 65). Subs not used: Forsythe.

Referee: Steven Taylor (Belfast).