A ten-year run of disappointing defeats at the Civil Service grounds in Stormont Estate was brought to a close on Saturday when Carrick Ladies came out on top of a bruising Senior Two encounter with Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Within three minutes of the opening whistle, prospects had already looked bleak for the visitors when a beautifully weighted through ball split their central defence allowing the young NICS centre-forward to slot home an opening goal.
Carrick, however, eased their way back into the game after this early set-back with Rachel Lynas, Christine Waide, and Emma Nichols steadily beginning to dominate the midfield.
And midway through the first half, Carrick’s continuing efforts to get back on level terms were rewarded when captain Amy Cross (pictured) fired home to make it 1-1.
Shortly before half time Carrick’s young full-back Aoife Burgess had to leave the pitch with a badly cut chin, requiring subsequent hospital attention.
But Carrick again fought hard to overcome this disruption with Sarah McAtamney slotting in seamlessly to replace Burgess, while the NICS midfield and defence gave little or no quarter in return with Christine Waide coming in for some particularly close attention.
Throughout the second half, Carrick continued to push bodies forward wherever possible and eventually earned their just reward when an inch-perfect feed from Emma Nichols was edged home by Cross to put Carrick into a 2-1 lead.
By that stage it was really all Carrick as NICS struggled to compete and the visitors could have increased their lead even further but for a superb diving save from the NICS goalkeeper to deny Christine Waide a penalty-flick conversion.
The home team however were unable to build on this brief moment of hope as Carrick continued to control the game until the final whistle.
Carrick’s Player of the Match: Amy Cross.