Saturday, 27 April 2019
The final game of the Bluefin Sport Championship campaign saw both Carrick Rangers and Portadown field much changed sides ahead of Tuesday evening's pre-playoff clash between the sides.
The first real chance of the game didn't come until the 27th minute, and it resulted in a goal. Ryan Strain's cross from the left wasn't cleared and was picked up by Aiden McGeown who found space before firing a low shot into the net.
Then on the 43rd minute, the 'Gers made it two. Jake McNeill's tackle was picked up by Strain whose curled shot deceived Dylan Stewart and gave the hosts a two-goal advantage at the break.
Strain almost grabbed a great goal shortly after the interval as his inswinging free-kick from the left flank crashed off the crossbar.
At the other end, keeper Liam McAuley had to be alert to save Callum Ferris' shot with his feet.
Debutant and Academy product Alex Weir then went so close to grabbing a brilliant goal, as his strike from outside the box whizzed just past the post.
Minutes later, a foul on Strain in the penalty area saw referee Diarmuid Harrigan point to the penalty spot. Craig McMillen assumed responsibility from 12 yards and coolly dispatched the spot-kick for his first Rangers goal.
With 15 minutes remaining, a double substitution saw James Nesbitt, son of 'Gers physio Jim, make his debut in place of McMillen while Danny Magill returned to action for the first time since dislocating his knee and rupturing his ACL in July of last year, replacing James Turk.
Five minutes from the end, a great Ashton McDermott pass found Strain who worked himself a yard of space before curling the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area, rounding off a superb league campaign for Niall Currie's outfit.
Carrick Rangers: McAuley, Coyle, McCauley, Turk, Gage, McDermott, McMillen, McNeill, McGeown, Weir, Strain subs Nesbitt (replaced McMillen 75), Adamczyk (not used), Rodgers (not used), Chapman (not used), Magill (replaced Turk 75)
Portadown: Stewart, Carson, McCullough, Larkin, Macuilaitis, Salley, Carmichael, Ferris, Robinson, Tipton, Hutchinson subs Creighton (not used), Conaty (replaced Salley 53), Murphy (not used), Gordon (replaced Ferris 75), Storey (replaced Carson 81)
Referee: Diarmuid Harrigan