Carrick’s goal-scoring hero Paddy McNally shouldn’t have been on the pitch to level the match.
That’s the view of Ards boss Colin Nixon, who reckoned the centre-back should have been issued an earlier red card.
The quick and skilful Matthew Shevlin gave the home defence plenty to think about throughout, not least on 15 minutes when he looked to race through on goal, only to be brought down outside the box. McNally was the last man but referee Lee Tavinder issued just a yellow card.
“It’s a sending off,” said Nixon. “I asked the fourth official why it wasn’t and he said it was because he wasn’t through on goal when he pulled him down but he’d been pulling him for 20 yards. Some of those go for you, some of them don’t.”
Guillaume Keke had given Ards a 2-0 lead, taking his personal tally to seven goals in his last six games. He smashed home a clinical opener just three minutes in and added the second with a deflected effort on 39.
Martin Murray drilled in his third in three matches to halve the deficit before McNally’s controversial headed equaliser.
“I thought, number one, if you look at that incident, their striker was offside,” reflected Carrick boss Aaron Callaghan, who backed referee Lee Tavinder. “There are two big lads battling away and I thought the referee got it right with a yellow card.
“It was a very difficult start. When you go 1-0 down against any opposition (so early), it knocks you. That was difficult to take, particularly with the result (on Friday) night from Portadown.
“Then at 2-0, I was really worried. I was worried enough to change the tactics and once we did that, we got to grips with it in the middle of the park. We became more on top.” Carrick need just one more point to confirm Portadown’s relegation while Ards are now three points adrift in the European play-off race.