A Curtis Allen double was enough for Glentoran to get the better of Carrick Rangers at Taylor’s Avenue.
All three goals came in the first half and it was Allen got the ball rolling for the Glens early on before James Wright’s looping free-kick brought the hosts level.
Allen responded a matter of minutes later when he was allowed time to head home his 20th goal of the season.
“Well below par would be the best way to sum up our display,” Carrick manager Gary Haveron said. “We put a lot into Tuesday night’s performance against the Crues and today it just looked like a really laboured performance from us. Glentoran haven’t really done anything spectacular to win the game but they haven’t had to.”
Allen’s first arrived on 10 minutes when latched on to goalkeeper Elliott Morris’s long ball before shirking off the attention of Carrick’s Aaron Smyth and slotting home from the narrowest of angles.
The visitors’ lead lasted all of four minutes when Wright’s free-kick from wide on the left drifted over the head of Morris. It was the midfielder’s first goal for Carrick since his January move from Knockbreda.
The Glens’ response was swift and it was the unmarked Allen who got on the end of a free-kick from the left to head home.
Just after the half-hour mark Wright stung the palms of Morris with a 25-yard free-kick and five minutes before the interval Glentoran’s Fra McCaffrey went close with an acrobatic effort from close range.
There was little of note after the restart with Carrick looking low on ideas and the Glens content to preserve their one-goal advantage.
However, midway through the second session Carrick keeper Brian Neeson produced a fine stop to deny Allen his hat-trick after the striker had sprung the offside trap.
And Neeson was called upon again with 74 minutes gone, tipping Chris Morrow’s 25-yard curling effort over the bar before palming Allen’s dipping shot away five minutes later.
Carrick: Neeson, Smyth, Doyle, Taggart, Traynor, McCaul (Chines 64), Kelly, Surgenor (Roy 70), McCloskey, Wright (Rice 86), Salley. Subs not used: Wallace, Kane.
Glentoran: Morris, Holland, Addis, Magee, Kane, Scullion, Caldwell, Morrow, McCullough, McCaffrey (Smyth 83), Allen. Subs not used: Birney, Nelson, Gibson, Hogg.