A second-half Kyle Cherry strike was enough to lift Carrick Rangers off the foot of the Danske Bank Premiership.
The midfielder’s 66th-minute goal – only his third of the campaign – should serve as a huge fillip for Gary Haveron’s side as the battle to beat the drop intensifies.
The 1-0 win over a Dungannon Swifts team who had won their last three on the spin was Carrick’s first victory in six league outings.
After a drab opening half-hour, the first chance of the match fell to Dungannon winger Cormac Burke but his looping 20-yard strike was palmed over by Carrick ‘keeper Brian Neeson. Seconds later, Andrew Mitchell’s speculative effort from wide on the left looked destined for the top corner, but it flew narrowly over the bar.
Carrick’s only real opportunity of the first half came three minutes before the break when skipper Aaron Harmon found space in the box only to see his low shot palmed around the post by Stuart Addis.
Early in the second session Swifts centre-back David Armstrong’s blushes were spared when his botched headed clearance from Neeson’s long-distance free-kick hit his own crossbar.
With 58 minutes on the clock, Neeson produced a fine save low to his right from Ryan Harpur’s clever shot just inside the 18-yard box.
The breakthrough came on 66 minutes when a slip from Andrew Burns was capitalised on by Man of the match Harmon. The Carrick captain raided down the left flank before sqauring the ball for Cherry who side-footed home from close range.
Ben Roy could have doubled Carrick’s advantage when he was set through on goal with seven minutes to go, but Addis was quick off his line to close down the danger. Harmon then let fly from 20 yards but his shot sailed agonisingly over the bar.
The relief in the Rangers camp was evident at the final whistle and the small band of ‘home’ fans greeted referee Steven Taylor’s last blast with a chorus of ‘we are staying up’.
Carrick: Neeson - Smyth, Taggart, Doyle, Traynor - McCloskey, Cherry, Surgenor, Harmon - Roy (McCaul 84), Chines (McNeill 90).
Subs not used: Wright, Rice, Kelly.
Dungannon: Addis - Burns, McCaffrey, Armstrong, O’Rourke - Hazley, Lowe (Mullen 84) - Burke (Liggett 71), Harpur (c), Teggart (Fitzpatrick 88) - Mitchell.
Subs not used: Montgomery, McDonald.
Referee: Steven Taylor (Belfast).