DANSKe BANK PREMIERSHIP
Carrick Rangers 2, Ballinamallard United 0
Big Andrew Mooney last night bagged a brilliant double to earn Carrick Rangers three precious Danske Bank Premiership points at the Loughshore Hotel Arena.
David McAlinden promised his team would not be caught up in a relegation battle this season and on the evidence of this performance, he’ll not be far wrong.
Following draws with Ballymena and Glentoran, they picked up their first win of the campaign but more will follow, make no mistake about that.
In fact, Ballinamallard United were lucky to escape with only a two goal defeat. It just wasn’t their night as they missed a last minute penalty kick.
Rangers almost enjoyed the perfect start with the hard-working Aaron Smyth getting forward to help his forwards only to see goalkeeper Richard Brush get down smartly to save his shot at the base of the post following great work by Lee Chapman.
And, they threatened again just two minutes later Martin Maybin sending the jet-heeled Chapman away on the right and, when he cut the ball back for Mooney, his drive was brilliantly saved by United goalkeeper Richard Brush.
The visitors were struggling to keep tabs on the bustling Maybin. In another lightning raid, the big front man threaded a great pass into the path of Ben Roy, whose thundering 25 yard drive flashes inches over the crossbar.
Ballinamallard at last abandoned defensive duties and forged a decent opening on 23 minutes. Ryan McConnell’s hopeful punt forward was superbly flicked into the box by Jay McCartney for Josh McIlwaine, but Paddy McNally came in with a wonderfully timed tackle to prevent a certain goal.
But the action quickly switched to the other end with Maybin trying his luck from distance that stung the hands over the over-worked Brush.
Rangers deservedly made the breakthrough seven minutes before the break, but it will not live long in the memory of embarrassed defender Aaron Canning.
He was pocket picked by the alert Mooney and, having spotted Brush off his line, he produced a magnificent finish, lobbing the ball home from 25 yards.
Rangers went looking for a second and almost got it two minutes later. The impressive Chapman picked out Roy following another scintillating right wing dash but his volley was somehow flicked against the post by the outstretched glove of Brush.
Then, seconds before the whistle, Mark Surgenor held his head in frustration after having a goal wiped out because of an offside infringement.
Rangers almost grabbed a second goal seven minutes after the interval but Brush was relieved to see Maybin’s flick header inch past the post following a delightful cross from Smyth.
Mooney struck what was a killer second goal in 66 minutes. He did it all himself, picking up the ball just inside his own half before outstripping McConnell. And, when confronted by Brush, the big striker brilliantly dinked the ball home.
United had a great chance of a consolation on 92 minutes when Denver Gage sent McGinty flying but Doherty pulled off an outstanding save to keep out Curran’s penalty kick.
CARRICK RANGERS: Doherty, Smyth, Edgar, Gage, McNally, Chapman, Surgenor, Taggart, Roy (Smith 80), Maybin (Morrow 80), Mooney (Trussell 87).
Unused subs: McMullan, McAllister.
BALLINAMALLARD UNITED: Brush, McConnell, Clarke, McGinty, Hutchinson, Martyn (Curran 60), McCartney, Leddy (McLaughlin 60), McIlwaine (Brennan 70), Smyth, Canning.
Unused subs: Burns, Crawford.
REFEREE: Jamie Robinson (Banbridge)