Carrick Rangers through to Steel & Sons Cup quarters after Bangor whitewash
Bangor 0 Carrick Rangers 3
Ben Roy is determined to fire Carrick Rangers to Toals Steel & Sons Cup glory after playing a major role in a 3-0 victory over Belfast Telegraph Championship One rivals Bangor that secures them a place in the competition’s quarter-finals.
The 25-year-old striker former signed from Ards in January, and has admitted to feeling a twinge of envy when he saw his old team-mates at another former club, Dundela, lifting the famous old trophy on last Christmas morning.
This time, he wants to get his hands on the silverware himself. And he has helped bring that dream one step closer to reality by posting a goal and an assist in a second half blitz that left the stunned Seasiders with no way back.
Accepting his man-of-the-match award from sponsors Toals Bookmakers, Roy said: “We have a way to go yet, but I will be doing everything I can to get into that Christmas Day final. It definitely is a regret that I have missed out on it so far, but there’s no reason why we can’t do it this year.
“I felt that Bangor shaded things early on today, but once we got the first goal, it made all the difference and we didn’t look back.”
His manager, Gary Haveron, echoed those latter sentiments: “We won’t be getting ahead of ourselves after this... if anything, I wasn’t overly happy with our first half performance, but it was important that we got the first goal.
“I wouldn’t read too much into the league over this result either. It is one of those things – on another day, Bangor could have won.
“The Steel and Sons isn’t necessarily our main priority this season, but we do want to give a good account of ourselves, and we are very much in it to win it.”
In truth, the game had a turgid opening half hour, with neither goalkeeper seriously tested amidst a series of off-target attempts and wasted opportunities.
The home side believed they had got the scoring underway in the 34 minute, when, following an impressive double save by Simon Steele from two Grant Gardiner strikes, Richard Gibson rushed in to smash into the goal, but referee Chris Morrison waved away Bangor’s claims, due to an adjudged foul on the Carrick keeper.
Five minutes later, Bangor were pressing again; this time Jordan Forsythe sending an accurate pass through to Gibson, but his finish was lacking, ensuring an easy save for Steele.
At the other end, a low, curling free kick from Miguel Chines was heading for the bottom left corner, but for an impressive reflex save from Paul Cairnduff, and Connor McCloskey was left kicking himself at finding the side-netting with his follow-up attempt.
Before the break, a square pass from a quickly-taken Mark Cooling free kick found Gibson, but he hurried his shot, blasting over from 20 yards.
Whatever Haveron said to his players, it seemed to do the trick, as they emerged for the second half with more purpose and intent than before. Five minutes in, Cairnduff had to come darting off his line to claim the ball from the feet of McCloskey, who had been sent clean through by Chines. The keeper shifted the ball out only as far as Ryan Kane, who he was happy to see lobbing over the bar from just inside the box.
At this point, the teams looked evenly-matched, and it was a matter of who would take their chances. Bangor got two in quick succession – a powerful effort from Andrew Hall bringing a fine save from the outstretched Steele, while a Forsythe header grazed the upper surface of the crossbar.
In the end, it was Carrick who struck the telling first blow, and crucially the two that followed. Their opener arrived on the hour mark, Chines the grateful recipient of the ball after hitting against the unlucky Colin Nixon, and reacting quickest to ghost into the box and slide a neat finish past Cairnduff.
Bangor’s chances didn’t suddenly dry up. Yet when one Andrew Hall cross into the penalty area found Andrew Morrow and Richard Gibson colliding in their attempts to get to it, and another resulted in a wide glancing header from Morrow, it was already beginning to feel like it mightn’t be their day.
Carrick really took control of the game with their second goal, in the 65 minute. Chines was instrumental yet again, this time showing great skill to carve out a shot from a congested area at the edge of the box, and although Cairnduff did well to parry it away, it fell straight to Roy, who dispatched from close range.
If the game already seemed out of reach for Bangor, it felt even more so in the 78, when Thomas Wray was shown a red card for an off-the-ball confrontation with Miguel Chines.
Carrick then wrapped up their successful afternoon three minutes later, with Roy flicking the ball over the Seasiders defence to McCloskey, who had no trouble in slotting home.
“I felt we dominated the first half, but it’s a concern the way we didn’t take our chances and conceded like that in the second half,” remarked Bangor manager Garth Scates afterwards.
“We are disappointed, but that said, it’s a one-off game and we know that anything can happen.”
Paul Cairnduff: Made some good saves, but couldn’t keep Carrick out. 6
Andrew Long: Probably Bangor’s best defensive display. 7
Grant Gardiner: Found Carrick front-line a real handful. 6
Thomas Wray: Well-timed challenges, but badly-timed dismissal. 6
Colin Nixon: Not at his best. 6
Wiliam McBurney: Decent effort and workrate. 6
Andrew Hall: Effective at recovering the ball when possession was lost. 7
Mark Cooling: Delivery from open play better than at set-pieces. 6
Andrew Morrow: Gutsy and determined. 7
Richard Gibson: A strong, physical display. 7
Jordan Forsythe: Showed a few flashes of individual brilliance. 8
Paul McDowell: On for Gibson, 74
Ethan Boylan: Not used
Dean Youle: Not used
Kris Pike: Not used
Dominic Melly: Not used
Simon Steele: A great day between the sticks. 8
Aaron Smith: Showed good authority. 7
Aaron Traynor: Looked comfortable throughout. 7
Ciaran Donaghy: A steady influence in the centre of defence. 8
Daniel Kelly: Didn’t give the opposition any time on the ball. 8
Glen Taggart: Passing game was solid. 7
Ryan Kane: Tireless display, didn’t let up. 8
Kyle Cherry: Positive in his approach play. 8
Ben Roy: A real standout display, made a huge impact. 8
Miguel Chines: The most creative player on the pitch. 8
Connor McCloskey: Kept knocking on the door, and eventually got his goal. 8
Anthony Lagan: On for Chines, 84
Graham Arthur: On for Roy, 85
Michael McKena: On for Taggart, 87
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ben Roy (Carrick Rangers). The stats don’t lie. One goal, one assist, and plenty of endeavour in between, too.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: There’s no question this game hinged on the first goal, and Carrick’s Miguel Chines took it well, on 60 minutes.
SAVE OF THE MATCH: Paul Cairnduff’s brave stop from the feet of Connor McCloskey in the 50 minute.
BLOOPER OF THE MATCH: Thomas Wray’s needless red card in the closing 15 minutes made an uphill task an impossible one.
Belfast Telegraph Digital