CARRICK RANGERS 4 H & W WELDERS 1
Carrick Rangers and manager Gary Haveron lifted the Steel & Sons Cup on Christmas morning thanks to a sparkling display at Seaview.
Rangers beat Harland & Wolff Welders 4-1 in a comfortable victory, that saw Aaron Smyth, Kyle Cherry, Conor McCloskey and Ben Roy grabbing the goals. Michael McLellan scored for the Welders, while Daniel Kelly was red carded for the eventual winners.
Carrick dominated the opening exchanges and looked the most likely to take the lead, so it was no surprise when they broke the deadlock in the 17th minute.
Former Cliftonville full-back Aaron Smyth found himself in a yard of space inside the Welders penalty box. He latched onto a weak defensive header and delivered a stunning volley that flew past Michael Dougherty and into the net from around 12 yards. It was no more than Carrick deserved.
Ben Roy almost doubled Carrick’s advantage three minutes later. The striker drilled a powerful shot towards goal, but it cannoned off team mate Adam Dick and bounced wide.
Dick had a good chance of his own in the 24th minute, when Aaron Traynor delivered a superb cross from the left-flank. Dick headed the ball over from just outside the six yard box.
The Welders best chance of the half arrived in 39th minute after an error from Aaron Traynor set Mark Magennis free on the right-flank. The former Linfield man tried to find Michael McLellan in the middle but defender Daniel Kelly deflected the ball towards his own goal, where it bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Carrick grabbed their second goal of the game in the 39th minute. Connor McCloskey flighted over a superb cross from the left for Kyle Cherry who headed the ball home from six yards. A two-goal was nothing more than the Welders deserved.
Ben Roy then tested Michael Dougherty with a 20 yard free-kick. Dougherty tipped Roy’s efffort over the bar with a superb save. From the resulting Aaron Harmon corner, Daniel Kelly headed just over the bar.
The Welders lifted their tempo for the second half. Mark Magennis hit a 20-yard free-kick that was headed off the line by Aaron Traynor, in the 49th minute.
Carrick, however, fought back and Ben Roy hit the post with a low drive in the 54th minute. Roy came close again in the 57th minute but Michael Dougherty
Conor McCloskey ended the game as a contest on the hour mark. The Carrick midfielder collected the ball on the left flank and cut infield before delivery a stunning curling effort from the angle of the box that gave Dougherty no chance. In was undoubtedly one of the finest goals ever scored the Steel & Sons Cup final.
The Welders were handed a lifeline in the 78th minute when Carrick centre-back Daniel Kelly picked up a second yellow car. From the resulting Mark Magennis free-kick Michael McLellan was able to find some space and drill the ball low, past Brian Neeson.
Unfortunately for the Welders, McLellan goal didn’t spark a comeback. Ben Roy completed the scoring for Carrick in injury time. He sped clear of the Welders defence to tuck the ball past Michael Dougherty to make it 4-1.
Carrick can look back with pride on a fine performance, while the Welders will be left feeling that they didn’t do themselves justice.
Carrick Rangers : Neeson, Smyth, Donaghy, Kelly, Traynor, Harmon, Cherry, Taggart, McCloskey (82 Kane), Roy (90 Arthur), Dick (69 Watson)
Subs: Arthur, McKenna, Lynch
Harland & Wolff Welders : Dougherty, Beattie (HT Harris), McMurray, Spence, W. Armstrong, Deans (69 Devine), Simpson, Davidson, Magennis, Rainey, McLellan
Subs: Middleton, M. Armstrong, Dickson
Ref: Steven Gregg