Scott Davidson came off the substitutes’ bench to pinch Ards’ first win of the season at the Loughshore Hotel Arena.
Davidson - a 73rd minute replacement for Nathan Hanley - headed home the winner in the last minute which took Colin Nixon’s team off the bottom of the Danske Premiership table.
Both teams finished with 10 men in what was a bad-tempered affair. Ards lost midfielder Kyle Cherry while the home team had Mark Surgenor dismissed.
Referee Lee Tavinder also issued a staggering 11 yellow cards.
They may been rooted to the bottom of the table, but the visitors started well with new signing Johnny Frazer blazing over the crossbar in the opening seconds.
Bustling striker Guillaume Keke was then just off target with a bullet header following a pin-point cross from Reece Glendinning, recently signed on a loan basis from Linfield.
But the home team began to ask questions of the Ards defence with little Eamon McAllister trying his luck from distance, but goalkeeper Aaron Hogg got down smartly to save.
Ards were right out of luck two minutes before the break. Keke sent Johnny Frazer hurtling through the middle and, after out pacing Johnny Taylor, he could only shoot inches past the post.
Colin Nixon’s team were again out of luck seconds after the break when Glendinning cross for Cherry, whose shot fizzed inches past.
Then, at the other end, Surgenor sent in a rasping 25 yard drive that Hogg did superbly well to paw past the post.
But the game exploded for all the wrong reasons on 62 minutes when Cherry was dismissed after appearing to lash out at Aaron Smyth.
And, Surgenor lasted merely four minutes after that when he picked up his second yellow card of the night.
Ards won it right at the end with Davidson’s header inching over the line after David McAllister’s shot pushed on to the bar by Doherty.
CARRICK RANGERS: Doherty, Smyth (Malone 89), Edgar, McNally, Gage, McAlister, Roy (Smith 69), Surgenor, Clarke (Taggart 51), Maybin, Mooney.
Unused subs: McMullan, Morrow.
ARDS: Hogg, Hall, Taylor, Elebert, McMillen (Tommins 63), Frazer, Hanley (Davidson 73), Cherry, Glendinning, McAllister, Kele (McLellan 85),.
Unused subs: Byers, Arthurs.
REFEREE: Lee Tavender.