Carrick Rangers’ Irish Cup ambitions effectively ended inside 45 minutes of frustration on Saturday - with manager Niall Currie wary of continued errors impacting on senior survival.
Promotion via the Bluefin Sport Championship play-offs last season pushed Rangers back on to the Irish League main stage.
Highlights have included wins over Cliftonville, Glenavon and Ballymena United alongside defeats of the sides below Carrick having helped provide a 12-point cushion on the drop zone.
However, Currie is calling for a ‘back-to-basics’ approach in the aftermath of conceding injury-time goals to Warrenpoint Town ahead of Saturday’s 5-1 reverse against the Crues. This was followed by a midweek 3-1 loss to 10-man Cliftonville.
“If there is any issue of complacency setting in that cannot be allowed to happen,” said Currie after Saturday’s defeat by Crusaders. “We cannot go crawling over the line, I want us to finish the season strong.
“We may only be a few wins away from sitting safe but I want us to kick on and get as many points as we can.
“You don’t win football games giving away goals like that today, it’s different if you get opened up by the opposition.
“We conceded goals at bad times and it was unbelieavable the areas we wanted to play in at times.
“We wanted to play in our own 18-yard box but then, when we did manage to get up the pitch, opted to hump it long.
“The first goal was really poor, we had an opportunity to clear and instead stuck a toe in.
“So that was avoidable and the second goal was schoolboy stuff - we react as if the ball has gone out of play, Jordan Owens didn’t and that’s the naïvety we sometimes show.
“The third goal was a shocker and just before half-time.
“We had the chance to put the ball in the stand on the halfway line but Jamie McGonigle instead comes away with it on the break.
“Then Jordan Owens mishits it but Jordan Forsythe slips in the box then still has time to get up and slide the ball into the corner as our defenders watch.
“We’ve got to get back to basics and we talked in the changing room about under-performing individuals.
“It’s an Irish Cup game, you need more than what we produced today and, instead, we made it a comfortable afternoon for Crusaders.
“We have been successful together and over-performed in a lot of situations but we lacked the usual energy levels.
“We need to get back to proving hard to beat.
“Warrenpoint deserved, at minimum, a draw.
“It’s a very dangerous situation we are in.”