CARRICK RANGERS 1 PORTADOWN 2
Gary Breen was the hero after his last-gasp strike snatched a vital three points for Portadown to send sorry Carrick bottom of the pile on Tuesday night.
Breen’s smash-and-grab winner arrived in the 90th minute and it was a real sucker-punch for Rangers who themselves had been knocking on the door late on.
Ballinamallard’s defeat at Dungannon Swifts means the Ports have opened up a four-point gap over Whitey Anderson’s men. For Carrick, Warrenpoint’s surprise win over Ballymena was anything but good news and they now face a real battle for survival with two games left to play.
After a throughly uninspiring first half the game sparked into life when Portadown right-back Chris Casement converted a 56th-minute penalty to put Pat McGibbon’s men in the driving seat. Referee Ross Dunlop pointed to the spot after Michael Gault was bundled over in the box.
The hosts needed just five minutes to formulate a response. Adam Salley’s teasing cross was stood up perfectly for the onrushing Mark Surgenor who gleefully headed home from close range.
Carrick were inches away from edging in front when Chines rattled the post with delightful free-kick from wide on the right. But it was the Ports who had the final say when Breen blasted home after Neeson had parried from Tim Mouncey’s header.
Carrick Rangers: Neeson - Smyth Taggart (Kelly 90), Doyle, Wallace (Roy 73) - McCloskey, Johnston (Cherry 62), Surgenor, Traynor - Salley, Chines. Subs not used: McNeill, McCaul.
Portadown: Miskelly - Casement, Oman, Breen, Redman - Mackle, Gault, Mouncey, Ramsey (Twigg 66), Parker - Ferris (McCallister 78). Subs not used: Garrett, Richardson, Marron.
Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus).