A fighting performance against league leaders Rainey failed to prepare Carrick 1st XI for Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Civil Service.
During their previous meeting in Carrickfergus back in November, the home team were unable to deal with their opponents’ strength and pace right across the pitch, and the return match in Belfast was more or less an exact replica of that first encounter.
In the first half of the game, the third-placed NICS team took the lead from open play after 12 minutes, but only three minutes later, Carrick were back on level terms when Jeni Leigh Patterson netted an Emma Nichols feed from a penalty corner play.
The home team took the lead again just on half-time, converting a well-rehearsed penalty corner of their own.
But with NICS consistently the more forceful and attack-minded of the two teams throughout the opening period, it was mainly due to the heroics of their goalkeeper Karen Nelson that Carrick went into half-time only a single goal in arrears.
With only minutes on the clock in the second-half, NICS scored again, this time from a hotly-disputed move in the Carrick circle which the Carrick players were convinced struck an opponent’s foot before the ball was netted.
The goal stood, however, and a clearly disrupted Carrick never looked likely to get themselves back into the game.
NICS continued to dominate with their slick and accurate passing play and they completed the scoring to make it 4-1 late in the second-half.
Carrick Player of the Match was midfielder, Emma Nichols.