LINFIELD 1 CARRICK 1
Linfield midfielder Aaron Burns went from zero to hero with a late equaliser against Carrick Rangers at Windsor Park.
Burns – who had a first-half penalty saved by Carrick goalkeeper Brian Neeson – earned redemption with a cool finish in the 85th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw.
It came after Miguel Chines had scored from the penalty spot in the 65th minute to give the visitors the lead.
Chines sent Ross Glendinning the wrong way from the spot in the 67th minute after the striker had been tripped by Matthew Clarke inside the box.
It was a killer blow for the Blues following Burns’ penalty agony in the 37th minute.
Andy Waterworth was fouled by Aaron Traynor inside the area, but Burns’ resulting spot-kick was well saved by Neeson.
Carrick keeper Neeson kept the Blues at bay during a drab opening half.
He got down to his right to expertly tip Burns’ goal-bound header around the post in the 13th minute before expertly saving the midfielder’s penalty after Andy Waterworth had been scythed down inside the box by Aaron Traynor.
Carrick almost claimed the lead in the 57th minute, but Joe McNeill’s delicate lob from the edge of the area bounced off the top of the bar, with Ross Glendinning stranded.
Conor McCloskey sliced an effort high and wide in the 65th minute, but two minutes later Carrick were celebrating the opening goal.
It came after Chines was tripped by Matthew Clarke, and the striker climbed off the ground to send Glendinning the wrong way from the spot.
McCloskey was off target again in the 72nd minute following a goalkeeping error from Glendinning.
The Blues were level with five minutes remaining when Lowry picked out Burns with a superb pass, and the midfielder took his time before dinking a shot past the advancing Neeson.
Chris Hegarty cleared McCloskey’s shot off the line in the final seconds after Glendinning fumbled Kane’s free-kick.
At the other end substitute Adam Salley volleyed inches over the bar.
LINFIELD: Ro. Glendinning, Hegarty, Haughey, Waterworth, Lowry, Bates (Salley 65), Millar (Sproule 57), Burns, Ward, M. Clarke, Mulgrew.
Subs not used: Deane, Callacher, Quinn.
CARRICK: Neeson, Traynor, Surgenor, McNeill, Chines (Browne 86), Roy (McCaul 82), McCloskey, Kane, Johnston, Doyle, Taggart.
Subs not used: Keenan, Dick, Miskimmin.
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)