Daniel Kelly (49)
Michael Smith (51)

2

Michael Smith doubled Carrick's lead (©INPHO/Freddie Parkinson)

CARRICK DEFEAT PORTS TO MOVE INTO SECOND

Carrick Rangers claimed another crucial three points in their hunt for a top six place with two second half goals to secure a win over fellow challengers Portadown.

The away side had the first opportunity of the afternoon after nine minutes as Chris Lavery unleashed a powerful long-range strike but was denied by a fantastic fingertip save by Aaron Hogg.

At the other end, a cross from Reece Neale found Daniel Kelly who directed his header just over the bar. Lloyd Anderson then went close, sending a low strike past the post.

Rangers took the lead only four minutes into the second half. Neale's corner-kick found Kelly who exquisitely curled a low volley through a crowd of players and into the back of the net.

Just two minutes later, Rangers grabbed a second. Stewart Nixon won back possession on the wing and found Anderson who squared the ball to the unmarked Michael Smith to find the bottom corner.

Adam Salley then went close to halving the deficit for the Shamrock Park side as he sent a low shot wide of the upright.

On 70 minutes, referee Neil Robinson awarded a penalty-kick to the home side following what looked to be an elbow on Kelly from Kevin Braniff, with the Portadown striker given his marching orders. Smith took the spot-kick but ;keeper Declan Dunne was equal to it, diving to push the ball away.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Craig McMillen replaced Michael Smith as Carrick looked to close the game out. McMillen made an immediate impact as he found Nixon who broke clear of the defenders, raced through and rounded Dunne but was denied his goal by the covering Greg Hall who cleared on the line.

Minutes later the referee brandished the red card again, this time for Carrick midfielder Ashton McDermott for a supposed elbow.

The dismissals didn’t stop there however when, right at the end, Andrew Kilmartin was also shown a straight red card for kicking out.

Carrick Rangers: Hogg, McCauley, Neale, Surgenor, Rodgers, Loughran, Anderson, McDermott, Kelly, Nixon, M. Smith subs Smiley (replaced Nixon 90), Mulholland (not used), Mitchell (not used), Gage (not used), McMillen (replaced M. Smith 72)

Portadown: Dunne, McCallum, Larkin, Lavery, Salley, Braniff, Hall, Thompson, Wilson, Carmichael, Storey subs Blair (not used), Carson (replaced Larkin 88), Neill (not used), Kilmartin (replaced Lavery 88), Douglas (replaced Carmichael 67)

Referee: Neil Robinson