CARRICK RANGERS 0 PORTADOWN 1
A last-gasp Gary Twigg penalty secured Portadown’s first Dankse Bank Premiership victory since August with a 1-0 win over Carrick at Taylor’s Avenue.
In an otherwise drab affair, there was late drama as Rangers substitute Ryan Kane felled Ross Redman inside the box in the 94th minute. Up stepped Twigg to hammer home the spot-kick.
For Portadown, it brought to an end an agonising 540 minutes of football without a league victory. Their last was a 2-1 success away to Ballinamallard.
It was a game that lacked any real cutting edge as both sides struggled in the final third.
After a cagey start to the first half, Ports frontman Twigg had Brian Neeson at full stretch but the agile stopper was alert to palm away his snapshot from just inside the box.
At the other end, Carrick came close when Ben Roy flashed a right-footed effort across the face of goal.
Just after the half-hour mark Carrick threatened again when Brian McCaul, making his first league start for the Gers, headed wide from Gary Browne’s clipped cross.
Early in the second session Rangers midfielder Kyle Cherry had a pop from distance but his shot went harmlessly wide of David Miskelly’s left-hand post.
Ronnie McFall’s side could have broken the deadlock on 72 minutes but Peter McMahon didn’t get enough purchase on his attempted backheel flick from Michael Gault’s cross from the right.
Neeson was again called into action when he denied Twigg from eight yards.
Minutes later, his opposite number Miskelly tipped over Browne’s effort from the edge of the area before substitute Miskimmin flashed a header wide from the resultant corner.
Carrick were knocking on the door in the dying embers of the match and it was former Portadown player Conor McCloskey who stung the palms of Miskelly with crisp strike from 20 yards.
But it was the visitors who had the final say when Glaswegian Twigg rammed home that late penalty to bag his fourth goal of the season and a precious three points.
Carrick Rangers: Neeson - Smyth (c), Surgenor, Kelly, Traynor - Cherry, McCaul (Miskimmin 75), McNeill, McCloskey - Roy (R. Kane 73), Browne (Dick 90). Subs not used: Johnston, Taggart.
Portadown: Miskelly - Casement, O’Hara (c), Oman, Redman - Mackle, Gault, Garrett, McMahon - Murray (Soares 63), Twigg. Subs not used: Lyttle, Brennan, Conway, Mouncey.
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn).