GIBSON FINISH RETURNS CARRICK TO WINNING WAYS
Carrick Rangers returned to winning ways with victory over Ballymena United at The Showgrounds.
Indeed, this was Stuart King's side first three points since defeating the Sky Blues at the start of October, bringing an end to a run of eight games in all competitions.
There was plenty of endeavour on display from both sides during the opening exchanges although little of note was created in front of goal.
United came closest through Ryan Waide's free-kick midway through the first half while, for Carrick, Jordan Gibson fired over from 18 yards.
After the break Andy McGrory directed a header over the bar with Jordan Williamson saving from Kyle Cherry at the other end.
Ballymena had the ball in the net on 59 minutes but Leroy Millar's 'goal' was ruled out offside. The home side were then reduced to ten men just a couple of minutes after that following Ross Redman's dismissal for a second bookable offence.
Looking to take advantage, Carrick twice threatened through Cherry before, on 70 minutes, Gibson beat the offside trap to run clear of the United defence to open the scoring with a chipped finish beyond Williamson.
The closest Ballymena came to salvaging something from the game came courtesy of a Waide effort past the far post after he had got in behind the visiting defence.
Ballymena United: Williamson, Redman, Wilson, McElroy, Waide, McCullough, Kane, Barr, McGrory, Loughran, Millar subs Johnston (not used), Chapman (not used), McKeown (not used), Henderson (not used), Smith (replaced Barr 90+1), Beattie (not used), Farquhar (not used)
Carrick Rangers: Hogg, Forsythe, Surgenor, Ervin, Cushley, D. Kelly, Gawne, Cherry, Gibson, Tilney, Anderson subs Shields (not used), McGuckin (replaced Gibson 86), E. Kelly (replaced Cushley 46), Kalla (replaced Gawne 90+3), McGimpsey (not used), Glendinning (replaced Cherry 90), Quinn (not used)